An MLS source said a joint UM/MLS facility remains a “real possibility” that interests Beckham, and Beckham’s people are still studying financial and traffic issues before coming back to UM with details and a definitive answer.
Problem is, a high-ranking Sun Life Stadium official who’s directly involved said Dolphins and stadium owner Stephen Ross is opposed to allowing UM to escape the final 18 years of its lease to move to an MLS facility. UM hasn’t asked yet, because it’s premature.
Since everything is negotiable, I believe a UM/Sun Life settlement is possible if MLS deems the project do-able, even though Ross has told people he’s adamantly opposed to letting UM bolt its lease.
If the stadium is built at PortMiami (Beckham’s preferred site), traffic would be a concern for UM games because some cruises leave on Saturday afternoons. UM also wants to make sure there’s adequate parking. Beckham’s group is trying to formulate solutions on both issues.
UM isn’t unhappy at Sun Life. But several high-ranking UM officials love the MLS stadium idea because of the appeal of a smaller venue (with 40,000 seats) with better atmosphere and sight lines and closer to campus, according to one of those officials. UM also would consider an MLS stadium near Marlins Park, an option Beckham’s group has considered.
UM has publicly confirmed its interest in potentially sharing a stadium with Beckham's team and is awaiting word from MLS on the feasibility.
Ross declined to comment when asked if he would allow UM to escape its lease. But a source close to him said he would have no incentive to do so.
What if UM offered a lot of money? “They don’t have a lot of money to offer,” the Sun Life source said.