On the business side, it’s been a tale of two counties for Inter Miami CF.
In Broward County, everything seems to be moving ahead as planned. The team’s training facility and temporary venue in Fort Lauderdale has been approved by the city. Ground has been broken and the construction of the foundations for the canopy and seating have begun. More than 8,000 non-refundable season ticket deposits have been made, including 2,000 for premium seating, which is far more than managing owner Jorge Mas anticipated.
“I think that that complex, with the stadium and the training center and the fields, will be one of the first-class facilities for soccer in the U.S.,” Mas said.
What’s happening in Miami-Dade County has been much more of a slog. A lease for the team’s permanent home, Miami Freedom Park, must be approved by four of the five Miami city commissioners. Manolo Reyes and Willy Gort are on record as opposing it. There’s also a resolution stating that the lease must be approved by Sept. 15, though Mas insisted that it isn’t legally binding.
Gort is the swing vote, and Mas said Inter Miami has done what it could to address the commissioner’s concerns. What’s more, he’s visited more than 600 homes in the district to win over residents. The First Tee golf program for the area’s youth has been relocated, satisfying another Gort request. Mas is hopeful to bring the finalized lease before the city commission on Sept. 12 and that once the lease is presented, Gort will be won over.
“I’d like to get this done in September, and I’m confident that Commissioner Gort will get there,” he said. “And I’m not giving up on Commissioner Reyes. I’ve always aspired for 5-0.”
Even though the on-field project is starting to take shape, much still needs to happen on the business side in order to get the Inter Miami franchise into its impressive eventual home. — Jeff Carlisle