OB Soccer Palace a real possibility

Discussion in 'Inter Miami CF' started by Mike T, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. Mike T

    Mike T Member

    May 21, 2002
    Posted on Tue, Oct. 19, 2004
    From the MIAMI HERALD === Key Paragraph highlighted in bold

    Orange Bowl renovations on the ballot
    Inside Miami-Dade County's proposed multiquestion $2.9 billion bond issue is $50 million to fix up Miami's decaying Orange Bowl.

    Vote for the $680 million park improvements bond question on Nov. 2 and you'll help create plenty of new athletic fields where the little ones can play.

    You'll also be sprucing up the stomping grounds of 300-pound offensive linemen, a place where one of the elite college football programs in the country -- the University of Miami -- routinely routs opponents week in and week out:

    The Orange Bowl.

    Historic, but at the same time severely outdated, the Orange Bowl is set to receive $50 million of the park improvement bond money for renovations. The city of Miami, which owns the stadium, and the University of Miami will together chip in nearly $90 million more as part of a $139 million stadium overhaul.

    The project is included in a proposed $2.9 billion bond issue divided into eight questions on the ballot. The Orange Bowl proposal is part of Question No. 2.


    Among the planned improvements: upgraded seating, new and expanded concessions and restrooms and installation of a jumbo television screen capable of replaying every bone-crushing tackle.

    Capacity would be smaller in the revamped stadium, down from just over 74,000 to about 57,500, according to Miami City Manager Joe Arriola. The precise layout would vary depending on whether the Florida Marlins build a professional baseball stadium next door, something the Marlins are hoping for but that has yet to be decided.

    Construction at the Orange Bowl would take slightly more than two years to complete.

    ''It'd be almost a brand new stadium,'' Arriola said. ``It would be really, really nice.''


    But should it be part of a county bond issue? When the Miami-Dade County Commission debated which projects should make the cut, the Orange Bowl proved one of the most contentious items, with several commissioners trying to nix the Orange Bowl money and instead spend the $50 million on other county priorities.

    A common knock against the Orange Bowl: it is owned by Miami and is therefore a city, not county, concern.

    Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, noting that football fans from across South Florida flock to the stadium, said it deserves to be part of the bond issue.

    ''The Orange Bowl is not a city of Miami facility in terms of use,'' Diaz said. ``The Orange Bowl is a regional facility.''


    And, city leaders say, renovations could lead to it being more than just a football palace. Major League Soccer -- which fled Fort Lauderdale's Lockhart Stadium in 2002 -- just might be wooed back to South Florida by a new-and-improved Orange Bowl, the city said. At the same time, the city denied any work at the Orange Bowl would be specifically done to lure soccer.

    Diaz said he has had ''multiple conversations'' with the league, though no commitments have been made. Major League Soccer released a statement saying it ``continues to have an interest in South Florida being the home of an MLS team and will continue to monitor with interest any stadium developments.''

    The Orange Bowl's bid for county dollars will almost certainly benefit from appearing on the same ballot question as new playgrounds, picnic areas and nature trails. Rare is the county voter who does not want more of these amenities.


    ''How can you vote against it if you love the parks?'' said Nancy Liebman of the Urban Environment League, which advocates preserving and enhancing public spaces. Liebman, in fact, is in favor of the Orange Bowl money, but says it would have a much tougher time getting approved if it appeared as its own separate ballot question.

    Arriola, the Miami city manager, disagrees. ''The Orange Bowl question, by itself, it would sell,'' Arriola said.
  2. DaveBrett

    DaveBrett Member

    Nov 28, 1998
    Austin, Texas
    Interesting. Thanks for posting this.

    The article doesn't exactly explain whether they are tearing down the facility that is there and building a new one, or whether they are simply remodeling the existing facility.
  3. swedcrip34

    swedcrip34 New Member

    Mar 17, 2004
    I'm not quite getting this yet.

    Not quite convinced this is part of MLS's long term plans. Plus the owner issue. It's an interesting proposition cause of the soccer involvement, but I haven't figured out how good this really is for soccer.
  4. DoyleG

    DoyleG Moderator
    Staff Member

    FC Edmonton
    Jan 11, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    FC Edmonton
    Nat'l Team:
    I never got the idea of playing Miami games in Fort Laud.

    Having a improved Orange Bowl would make MLS in Miami look better.
  5. nyrmetros

    nyrmetros Member

    Feb 7, 2004
    MLS could have worked in Miami.... But Ft. Lauderdale is not Miami. And Tri-Rail ain't that feasible.
  6. NattyBo

    NattyBo Member+

    Apr 30, 2004
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    Hate to say it Miami, but call MLS when you have an interested/committed owner. Until then, it aint happening.
  7. Sempuukyaku

    Sempuukyaku Member+

    Apr 30, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The city of Miami just doesn't get it, do they?

    "Discussions" with MLS are pretty much useless without a local, committed I/O with a stadium plan

    Besides, if the city of Miami is gonna charge an MLS team the ridiculous amount of rent that they were proposing before, then that makes it even more worthless....that's why the Fusion had to play at Lockhart before!


    If only I were a billionaire :(
  8. Mike T

    Mike T Member

    May 21, 2002
    In reponse to some of the above questions:

    First, ANYWHERE in any metropolitan area in the country where there is such an interest in the game of Futbol/Soccer by public authorities discussing the possiblilities of remodling any stadium to soccer specificities(widening the pitch and downsizing capacity) is GENERALLY a GOOD thing for soccer afissionados within that locale without any question.

    That there is no I/O, yes, its probably the most critical issue. However, the very fact that a city goverment(City of Miami) in conjuction with a local major university (University of Miami)is willing to pay 90 million alone to remodel a stadium to, interestingly, soccer specifics is definitly a step in the right direction. (Also, excuse me but a football stadium that is downsized and its pitch widened for soccer is not a so much a "football palace" but a soccer palace) ...ITS ALREADY A GIVEN see my other clip on post #344 here https://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22742&page=23&pp=15. Then to have the county government(Miami-Dade County) attempt to add another 50 million for the successfull transformation of this stadium into a soccer palace almost voluntarly because it recognizes the desire of many its citizens is definitely a good thing.

    I'm not saying that I believe MLS will return simply because Miami/Miami-Dade public authorities are showing significant interest. Nothing will happen in Miami until some sugardaddy with big buck is will to dish some cash, even there is a gorgeous soccer facility in the middle of metropolitan Miami. However, it certainly makes it much easier to lure that I/O.... In my honest opinion I believe there must be someone(maybe more) already there that has, privatly, shown an interest thus motivating public officials... I have never seen such "stelthy" interest in the game of soccer by city and county public officials in my 30+ years here in Miami. Regardless. that is just my speculation.

    Conserning the last post by Sempuukyaku, and the monetarily blackmaling abuse(toward the Fusion) by the City of Miami and in particular ex-Mayor Joe Carollo. Well, the above paragraphs says it all. The corrupt anti-soccer Carrollo was not only removed but in the process jailed for abusing his wife not to metion other embarresments. Since then other officials including city commisioners (namely Joe Sanchez) have realized his huge mistake in having the Fusion opt out of Miami. Miami now wants to lure more soccer to its facility and would no doubt give a new owner a better deal. The idea is to continue to develop the sport and consequently a new long term tenent in addition to the UM and US Soccer/CONCACAF-Gold Cup.
  9. Brian in Boston

    Brian in Boston Member+

    Jun 17, 2004
    MA & CA, USA
    Ah, but is it SINCERE interest, or the sort of politically-motivated "blowing of smoke up the citizenry's a$$" that is all too often engaged in as a means of making the proposed project as appealing as possible to as many voters as possible?

    Bottom line? Until the "public authorities" are making these grandiose pronouncements dressed in old Miami Toros' kits, while juggling six balls simultaneously and handing Don Garber a primary tenant's lease and the keys to the facility... me, I'd hedge my bets on just how committed the politicos in Miami are to turning the Orange Bowl into a "soccer palace".
  10. Mike T

    Mike T Member

    May 21, 2002
    Brian plain and simply there ain't much smoke being placed. The monies the City of Miami and the University of Miami have pitched in have already been approved and a done deal as I stated and gave you the exact link to the article that verifies it. As for the topic above its also as near a done deal that a public official will give you.

    You see what Miami-Dade County voters will be voting on the ballot box in just a few days will be whether they approve or not approve the $50 million bond issue in ADDITION to the $90 million that UM and the City is giving.

    So as far as the smoke that you are speaking of ... there isn't much less smoke that you will find from any public issue/anouncement/referendum whatever you want to call it. The only smoke that is left that which is left as the citzen's themselves decide whether or not to give that additional $50 million bond. So your "sincerity" issue only placed on the citizens themselves as pubic officials have done their part. Also the fact that they have placed the $50 million bond issue in concordance with a parks and "community enhancement progect: Building Better Communities" and not a "Stadium Funding" issue WITHOUT any of the gradiosity you mentioned only helps the project's possibility of being approved by voters. Remember there has been just about no real public anouncement about this potetial "soccer palace" (even though it essentially is for us soccer fanatics) its only placed as one the items in the "Building Better Communities" project.

    See it for yourself. Here is how the project is presented by the Miami-Dade website http://www.miamidade.gov/parks/GOB.asp with links to their actual information flyer being given to promote the project. Check it out yourself if you don't believe me... please.

    PS: Trust me the fact that the project was initiated BY and FOR the Univerity of Miami as a stadium improvement and they were willin to pitch in $$ for it and that the City backs soccer (because only such insiders have really noticed the large interest in the sport in this community... believe me these public officials have taken notice of the 25 to 50 k crowds for simple friendlies at the stadium) is the only reason they have gotten away with such a budget project that WILL benefit ALL. The UM gets what they want and the community as well by "enhancing" what is already there.
  11. soccer4sFlorida

    soccer4sFlorida New Member

    Oct 23, 2002
    Posted on Sun, Oct. 31, 2004


    World Cup qualifier scheduled for OB



    Although the match won't change team positioning, a World Cup regional qualifier in South Florida nonetheless is a coup for local soccer fans.

    Mexico, which already has clinched a spot in the next round, will play St. Kitts and Nevis in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifying match Nov. 13 in the Orange Bowl. The St. Kitts and Nevis soccer federation moved its home game of the home-and-home set against Mexico to South Florida after the Caribbean islands' facilities were considered inadequate after recent hurricanes.

    ''We work closely with the Caribbean federations, and they determined Miami was the logical location to play the game,'' said Enrique Sanz, vice president of operations for Traffic Sports, which is the local organizer for the event.

    Sanz believes the continued presence of South Florida playing host to international events such as World Cup qualifiers can only help the area in securing a future Major League Soccer franchise. MLS contracted the Miami Fusion after the 2001 season but will add four new franchises within the next two years.

    ''We need the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market to continue to remain active hosting important matches,'' Sanz said. ``There is an obvious demand for [soccer] in this area, especially when you consider the large number of local leagues. When MLS decides to expand again, we hope this area will be a priority.''

    While local fans are accustomed to national teams such as the United States, Colombia, Haiti and Honduras, Mexico has rarely played in South Florida. The match against St. Kitts and Nevis will be Mexico's first local appearance since the 1997 Nike Cup.

    Mexico's home match of the set will be Nov. 17 in Monterrey. Mexico currently leads its CONCAF regional group with a 4-0 record and 12 points. St. Kitts and Nevis is winless in four matches.

    The Mexico-St. Kitts and Nevis Orange Bowl match will begin at 8:30, following an exhibition between Haiti and members of Brazil's 1994 World Cup team. Sanz confirmed 1994 Brazil stalwarts Dunga, Bebeto and Tafarel would play in the game. Negotiations continue to include 1994 World Cup star Romario, Sanz said.


    • Brazil: Sao Caetano defender Serginho, 30, was told by doctors in June after a heart screening at Hospital das Clinicas' Heart Institute in Sao Paulo to stop playing soccer just four months before he collapsed and died on the field Wednesday, newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reported Saturday.

    • England: Bolton midfielder Khalilou Fadiga was hospitalized overnight after collapsing but regaining consciousness during warm-ups before Bolton's Premier League match against Tottenham. . . . Florida businessman Burl Sheppard is among the investors involved in a takeover bid of Leeds United. The once-storied English club has fallen on difficult financial times.

    • Portugal: Porto midfielder Costinha was hospitalized after sustaining a head injury in Wednesday's Portuguese Cup match at Vitoria Guimaraes. Costinha's head collided with Flavio Meireles' knee during a play.
  12. concord

    concord New Member

    Jan 8, 1999
    Jacksonville, FL, US
    I would love to see MLS return to Florida... Loved the Fusion, was the first moderator for the team's forum on BigSoccer.com...

    However sharing a stadium with a college football team, especially in the South where college football is a religion, does not seem like an ideal situation... there is not a question as to who the major tenant of the facility would be, especially since UM is forking over part of the renovation cash...

    Additionally if the baseball stadium gets built for the Marlins as a siamese twin facility with the renovated Orange Bowl, then there would be scheduling conflicts since both teams would be playing at the same time of year...

    Too bad, it was a nice dream... then I woke up and saw the reality of the situation...
  13. Mike T

    Mike T Member

    May 21, 2002

    You make some very decent points however I still think soccer can reasonalbly pull thru without much problems even in a worse case senario you mention. First football plays at most 4 tp 5 games during the MLS season and you always have lovely Sunday or Friday nights to play should you still have that inconveniece.

    As for baseball and soccer games being conflictive simply because they are in the same vicinity is minutia. First the baseball stadium's capacity would be around 38,000 (thats considering games are sold out) and a good soccer crowd would be anywhere from 22 to 30,000. So even in that unlikely senario you would have a total simultaneous crowd size of 68,000 total. Let me remind you I believe last year's UM vs FSU game attendence was over 80,000 and thats without a parking garage and without direct metrorail transportation which is also being included in the talks regarding the addition of the baseball complex.

    Besides their proximity to the other sports will only be a positive as it may serve as promotion to those less inclined to the sport. Eventually as the pro team grows they will eventually may want thier own stadium, but an RFK'esk public owned stadium in the heart of Miami with perfect soccer dimentions without a dime spent by MLS or an I/O is not a bad start!
  14. Mike T

    Mike T Member

    May 21, 2002
    Y-Y-Y-Y-E-E-E-S-S-S-S-S !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Its Official Miami-dade Voters Have Voted To Support The Conversion Of The Orange Bowl Into a Soccer Specific Stadium.

    Their Is Now $139 Million Going Into Renovating The Ob.

    Awesome!!! This Is Definitely A Step In The Right Direction.
  15. MLS3

    MLS3 Member

    Feb 7, 2000
    Pac NW
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    How is the OB now a SSS????

    Its still a football stadium, college...for the U...
  16. swedcrip34

    swedcrip34 New Member

    Mar 17, 2004
    a SSS with football lines and a capacity of ...

    but still, great news

    time to search for an investor?

    though I'd rather this happen in Tampa! USF could use a SSS as a temporary home until attendance improves
  17. concord

    concord New Member

    Jan 8, 1999
    Jacksonville, FL, US
    More than just a football palace... hmm... I think the football in this statement refers to the one with the pointy-ball... definitely not an SSS...

    Yep, the voters have decided to give the Hurricanes their "football palace" and the city fathers will be trying to recruit secondary tenants to help put some revenue into the city coffers...

    I can see it now... sure, we would love to have an MLS team here... and boy do we have a deal for you... you get to play in the "football palace" and all it will cost you will be the concessions, parking and a small per game facilities cost...

    Sorry to rain on the parade for you guys in Miami-Dade, but it just sounds like a political dog and pony show to me...
  18. Mike T

    Mike T Member

    May 21, 2002

    Keep it up and you'll be as green as the hulk. I've already told you that a downsized gridion football stadium made with soccer demension is much more of a soccer palace than football.

    Just ask many Dolphin season ticket holders which complain of the decreased atmosphere at JRS(aka PPP stadium) because as you may know Joe Robbie made that stadium with soccer in mind sideline fans are a signficant distance away from the action; its pitch is nearly a full square when looked from above. My neighbor a Hurricane S. ticket holder already complained to me how he disliked the idea... too bad. Soccer specific palace it is.. much more that football, period. Not only that, but much more soccer would most likely be played than football...4 to 5 times as many futbol games than football per year.

    As for you negativity, remember Joe Carrollo has been disbanded from Miami for some time now and this time there is no team to blackmail as the senario been reversed. There will be a stadium without a tennant(except for 5 to 6 dates out of the entire year) for which a team must be lured. Last time around MLS gave Miami a team without settling on a stadium beforehand thus giving that bastard Carrollo the upper hand in that MLS had already allocated a team without working out a stadium contract. This time MLS has learned they will not conceed a tean without a reasonalbe stadium contract already in place. There will be competion from other cities. In this case the tables would be turned completely around.

    PS: I would be nice if you read some of my prior post before spilling your greenish rants. :D
  19. swedcrip34

    swedcrip34 New Member

    Mar 17, 2004
    it may better and you're right on many points. but still there's three major funadmental problems.

    1. no owner (might be solved)
    2. not operated by MLS owner. fundamentally MLS is moving all 12 teams is the direction of MLS owners having operational control. This would be a better version of the SJ/SJ State share (better width, better facilities, likely better contract) but really will the city offer to MLS be good enough. how long of a contract would it be. what'd stop the city from playing "hardball" when the initial lease is up
    3. too big, what's the seating again (atmoshpere)

    not to mention the attendance problems in Ft. Lauderdale. I think Miami would work. But don't see it happening without a SSS or a very impressive owner. I do hope you get the owner as this is a large market that should have pro soccer
  20. soccer4sFlorida

    soccer4sFlorida New Member

    Oct 23, 2002

    The new OB soccer palce, supposedly will be in the 50K capacity !?
    down from about 80K
    I was always a supporter for LockhartSSS, and its central location..
    the problem was most “new” Americans mostly Hispanics, did not know we
    have pro soccer, or where LockhartSSS is.. mainly because poor marketing.
    On the flip side most on the new Americans KNOW where the OB is…simply
    because the amount of international games held there.

    With that said I can see “A” league at LockhartSSS, and MLS at OB.
    For this market that is the most “marketable” idea, and will pay many
    now !? are the investors smart enough ?

    and remember … !
    although the attendance was lower than in 7-8 other MLS
    locations, LockhartSSS was the cheapest venue in the nation, with the least
    $ losses. The $ 35 + million that Horrorwitz invested there was way to much.
    the $ 25 million that MLS a$$es charged for the franchise was a huge greedy
    mistake …and that is the main reason the FUSION is not around.

    Also on the investor… point !!! A) Horrorwitz it seems still has an “investor”
    status in MLS, b) build a soccer palace at OB and there are plenty of interested investors.
    c) IF soccer gets a pro go at OB, it needs as a marketing tool
    a brand name aka Real Madrid, as mentioned in the past…. This would sell
    the tickets 2 fold. This is a finicky, mixed, and proud market, YET separated
    by diversity and love for their particular team and nation, a “brand” name will
    unite the market… !!!
  21. concord

    concord New Member

    Jan 8, 1999
    Jacksonville, FL, US
    okay... lets look at it in a different way... it comes down to the money...

    The University of Miami has put money into the pot... even if they only play 4 or 5 games there a year... they have still invested in the stadium... they will have a big say in what goes at the stadium...

    The local governments have put money into the pot... they will want a return on their investment, so sure they are going to put forth all kinds of nice-ness to get secondary tenents for the facility... so, of course the guys in charge love soccer and want MLS to have a team in Miami...

    MLS, no money in the pot... Local MLS I/O, no money in the pot... no money equals little or no control... not the MLS' current financial model...

    Sounds like the Hurricanes will have a nice cozy little, by college football standards, 57,000 seat stadium... that will also be a very nice venue for soccer exhibitions, tournaments, etc...

    as for being green... well, it is not with envy... it is not hulking out with anger... maybe its from something some politicians were trying to feed me... :)
  22. concord

    concord New Member

    Jan 8, 1999
    Jacksonville, FL, US
    and after my last post...

    I would just like to say if I heard tomorrow that AEG had been signed as the facility and event manager for the "new" Orange Bowl, I would be jumping up and down that MLS was on its way back to Florida...
  23. Mike T

    Mike T Member

    May 21, 2002
    Cooool Concord,

    I hear ya. Speculation is never a bad thing as long as you look at the entire picture. Politicians can be deceptive, however, you still must deal with them especially when they appear to be on yours side(and in this case with good reason: gain another tenent for a public facility and simultaneosly fill the futbol void in many of the constituency.) Point is to deal with them with caution and not give them an immediate upper hand.
  24. Stan Collins

    Stan Collins Member+

    Feb 26, 1999
    Silver Spring, MD
    Well, yeah, the news can't be bad. But it does remind me a little of what you hear in Philadelphia, where they built Lincoln Stadium to international soccer dimensions, and said "Oh, yeah, we'd love to have an MLS team! But, er. . . we don't wanna own it or anything."

    The translation there is "we'd love to charge you exhorbitant rent." (I contrast this to Seatlle, where Seahawks ownership has actually shown evidence they'd be kinder to an MLS franchise by allowing the Sounders to play there at surprisingly reasonable rates). In Miami. . . ? ? ?

    There are two factors when it comes to a venue, aesthetics and economics, and not in that order. The aesthetics of a deal like this would probably be better than the Wizards or Revs have, but probably not as good as LA has or Chicago will have (you can have a 57k Stadium, like say RFK, work quite well for soccer, but you ahve to build it exactly right. And even then there are some imperfections with RFK). The economics, so far, are a wide open question.
  25. Mike T

    Mike T Member

    May 21, 2002
    Lets keep things simple Stan. We're happy down here simply because with this option, we have been resurected offically from the expansion dead list...period. As I said earlier a stadium: nice, big, small, ulgy, filled with fans or not is pointless without an I/O. This renovations simply puts us again on the realistic expansion list. ?on the bottom or middle or elsewhere but thats not the point.

    Of course there are multple factors. However MLS has the ball on their corner. They do not have to budge to anyone's presure... If the right price is not there it ain't going to happen no matter how beautiful a stadium is here or elsewhere.

    Now my personal points: Lincoln Field or whatever the Eagles play in is not a SSS by any means. Just because its pitch is playable for soccer does not mean its a SSS. The OB will be widened significantly specifically for Soccer and Downsized by 20,000. I believe Lincoln Field holds over 70,000. Also I believe and hope Miami is a slightly better lure than Philyfor any potential new I/O (if the price is right with regards to MLS and the stadium...of coarse).

    Also regarding RFK. The I was refering to it only due to its size and capasity which is ~57000. RFK really is a baseball stadium but the really suffices neatly for futbol and the best thing about RFK is its Atmosphere and Fans.

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