Beckham lobbies lawmakers for stadium tax break

Soccer star seeks $2 million tax break to build stadium for team at PortMiami site

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - David Beckham was in Tallahassee on Tuesday, lobbying lawmakers to give his Major League Soccer franchise in Miami the same $2 million annual tax break that every other professional sports team in the state receives.

Beckham shook hands with legislators and even took time for a "selfie" with Gov. Rick Scott.

His visit came one day after the soccer star and his ownership group announced plans to fully finance a stadium for the team at the downtown PortMiami site. The site is one of many in Miami-Dade County that has been explored, but Beckham said it is the preferred location.

Beckham said he knows there is opposition to building a stadium there, but he is willing to work with those who oppose it.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is interested in Beckham's proposal but non-committal.

County Commission Chair Rebecca Sosa has reservations about putting a soccer stadium on precious port property.

Royal Caribbean has "serious reservations about the suitability of PortMiami as a location for a stadium," a spokeswoman for the cruise line said.

Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff seems to favor the site.

"I think it would be an enhancement to the downtown urban core and would provide us with an additional amenity," Sarnoff told Local 10's Michael Putney.

Sarnoff prefers a stadium at the port to a much larger office, hotel and condo complex favored by PortMiami Director Bill Johnson.

"Do I see it as part of the fabric of a downtown? Sure," Sarnoff said. "These soccer fans and soccer stadiums, I think they'd be a great fit if properly done."

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