Inter Miami announces plans to play first two seasons at Ft. Lauderdale's Lockhart Stadium
Inter Miami owners David Beckham and Jorge Mas announced plans on Thursday to play the team's first two seasons in 2020 and 2021 at Ft. Lauderdale's Lockhart Stadium.
The MLS expansion club is working toward building its permanent home at Miami Freedom Park and had already submitted a proposal to the City of Ft. Lauderdale to privately funding the construction and operation of a state-of-the-art soccer training complex at the site of the former home of the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers and defunct Miami Fusion.
Inter Miami had previously explored the possibility of making Marlins Park, Hard Rock Stadium or Florida International University its temporary home.
The club is in advanced negotiations to build a stadium in Miami, near the airport, in order to move back to the city when the proposed "Miami Freedom Park" is completed.
Miami Beckham United is proud to share its vision for the new Lockhart Stadium Community Park and future home to Inter Miami's professional training facilities. pic.twitter.com/93ELM2lBFg— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) March 1, 2019
"We have made a proposal about revitalizing and activating this site, what was a historic stadium which was always the home of professional soccer in South Florida with a lot of history," said Mas.
"This is a great opportunity to create new memories for this site -- our academy and training centre will be based here but also we will activate this site with an 18,000-seat brand-new stadium, it will be ready to host our first two seasons of MLS here."
Beckham said although the team still intended to have their main stadium in Miami, the Lockhart venue helped the club appeal to a wider community.
"We will be in Miami but our commitment is also to South Florida. We are not coming here for just for two years and then abandon this -- this is a long-term project," he said.
If Inter Miami's proposal, which faces competition from Miami-based FXE Futbol, is accepted by the city, the club is ready to commit $60 million to the project and begin the construction phase as soon as permits are available.
"Our ownership group has spent months carefully discussing venue options to launch Inter Miami CF's inaugural season in MLS, while we build Miami Freedom Park," said Inter Miami CF Sporting Director Paul McDonough. "Ultimately we decided to expand our vision for the Ft. 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 venues we evaluated."
Once Inter Miami moves into its new home in 2022, the Lockhart Stadium site would be used for the club's anticipated USL side as well as a training ground for the first team.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.