Inter Miami CF, the MLS expansion team part-owned by David Beckham, will seek to play its first two MLS seasons in Fort Lauderdale, 30 miles north of Miami.
Beckham and co-owner Jorge Mas yesterday revealed proposals for an 18,000-seat modular stadium to be built on the site of Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium, which will be demolished. The club previously announced plans for a training ground and youth academy at the facility.
At a press conference in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday afternoon, Beckham said: “We need somewhere to play for the next two years and we’ve tried to make it work and this is where we’re at and this is where we feel that the heart and soul of the organization will be.”
Mas said: “Ultimately we decided to expand our vision for the Fort Lauderdale project to launch our first two seasons in the league the right way. Our goal is to provide fans with the most captivating soccer atmosphere and gameday experience, and we did not believe this would be possible at the [Miami] venues we evaluated.” Mas said the timeline for the Lockhart complex included demolishing the current stadium in the next 60-90 days and beginning construction of the modular stadium by this summer for completion in February 2020.
Inter’s proposal, and a competing bid for Lockhart by FXE Futbol, will be considered by the Fort Lauderdale City Commission next week. FXE Futbol would bring a USL Championship [second tier] club to Fort Lauderdale. FXE Futbol Managing Partner J.P. Reynal told SportBusiness: “Miami Beckham United has been consistently rebuffed in their attempts to find a physical home for their team in Miami-Dade County. At the 11th hour they threw together a hastily prepared bid to build a modular stadium in Ft. Lauderdale and sell it to the public and elected officials with star studded glitz and promises to have their Miami MLS team play temporarily in Fort Lauderdale while they sort things out in the 305 [the area around Miami].
“Our bid has been carefully crafted over two years with input from the public, local businesses, elected officials, civic groups, and youth sports advocates to refurbish the fabled Lockhart Stadium, bring a Championship USL team to Fort Lauderdale, have open practice fields, a public park and other amenities that will enhance the economic, cultural and sports vitality of the city,” Reynal said.
Lockhart Stadium is the historic home of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, an NASL club that featured the likes of Gordon Banks and George Best in the 1970’s. A successor club of the same name folded in 2016 and the stadium has since fallen into disrepair.