The Miami Herald limps to the issue of poor fan attendance to professional sporting events. In its publishers' view -- professional sports are a positive form of civic boosterism, apple as American pie.
But the David Beckham soccer stadium, following on the fiascos of the American Airlines/ Miami Heat and Florida Marlins / Miami Marlins deals, couldn't help but draw attention by the international press to question of Miami's fickle fans for professional sports. Even the UK Guardian football blog questioned the relation of Miami to its sports teams, without getting to the underlying point: you can't GET to the games.
"The Dolphins ranked 21st in attendance at 64,319 per game last season and played to only 85.8 percent capacity — 30th worst in the NFL and ahead of only Washington and Oakland. The Marlins ranked 29th, ahead of only Tampa, in attendance last season, at 19,584 per game. This year’s team is playing better and is averaging 21,865, worst in the National League and 25th overall. The Panthers finished this past season 29th of 30 teams in attendance at 14,177, ahead of only Phoenix."
So here you go, David Beckham and your lobbyists; the cost of gridlock is robbing families across the region of quality of life. If you are spending ten to twenty hours a week commuting to and from work, what are the chances you will want to invest your little remaining free time in a costly professional sporting match or performance?
In the Herald's "David Beckham's Miami soccer gamble: If they build the stadium, will fans come?", the traffic problem in Miami-Dade scarcely rates a yellow light. Never mind commuters from Broward or Palm Beach who would be "discouraged" from driving to games in downtown Miami. How about Coral Gables? I've spent an hour in traffic just trying to get from Biscayne Boulevard to the I95 on-ramp when the Performing Arsht Center lets out! Report THAT! So here you go, international press:
Traffic is the elephant in David Beckham's Miami telly room.
By George! The Herald itself moved to the Broward border in part to liberate capital but also to liberate staff from the terrible costs of commuting through gridlock. (How often is Tom Fiedler, the great proponent of the Marlins Stadium, going to baseball games in Miami?)
Miamians know that a soccer stadium at the Port of Miami will require a commitment at the end of a long work day or week. The game is 90 minutes. What is the time and cost budget for commuting to and from home to a soccer game in the Port of Miami?
For failing to highlight for its readers the irrefutable costs of traffic and poor planning for access to Miami sports and cultural venues, EOM gives the Miami Herald a red card.