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David Beckham Lobbies Tallahassee for Tax Breaks on a Soccer Stadium in Miami

| March 25, 2014

Because he really needs tax breaks. (Bay Area Bias)

David Beckham earned $47 million last year. (Bay Area Bias)

Lawmakers and some lucky celebrity watchers swooned over David Beckham as the soccer superstar shook up the Capitol on Tuesday while making a pitch for sports stadium tax breaks.

Elected officials — including Gov. Rick Scott — and staffers flooded Twitter with “selfies” alongside Beckham, who wants to bring a professional soccer team to Miami and has set his goal on the Port of Miami as a potential stadium site.

Beckham and Rick Scott in a selfie Scott posted on his Twitter account.

Beckham and Rick Scott in a selfie Scott posted on his Twitter account.

“Great meeting with David Beckham today. #selfie,” read a message posted by Scott’s official governor’s office Twitter account Tuesday afternoon accompanied by an overexposed picture of Scott and Beckham.

In addition to Scott, Beckham met with House Speaker Will Weatherford, Senate President Don Gaetz and dozens of lawmakers. Beckham’s visit to the capital city came just a day after a Senate committee passed a measure that includes elements of a stadium project-rating process favored by Weatherford.

“It was great to see David Beckham in the Capitol today during a surprise drop in. #justanotherdayintheoffice,” Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, tweeted in a message also paired with a photo.

Beckham met with reporters at lobbyist Brian Ballard’s office after leaving the Capitol in a star-struck state. Tuesday’s visit was his first to Tallahassee, Beckham said.

“I know it’s going to sound silly and people will probably get a laugh. I love the moss on the trees. I’ve only seen it in scary movies. I’ve never seen it actually close up. It’s amazing. I took a lot of selfies myself,” said Beckham, wearing a black suit with his heavily tattooed hands and wrists peeking out from beneath the cuffs of a white shirt.

Beckham said he received no assurances from lawmakers about adding his yet-to-be-built stadium to the professional sports stadiums that receive sales tax rebates.

“No one’s promised me anything. The people that I’ve met, they’ve promised me they support having the team in Miami and are excited about that. It’s good that they haven’t promised me anything because then I know it is going to be fair and I know that their decision will be down to what they feel is best for the state,” he said.

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross failed to persuade lawmakers to add Sun Life stadium last year despite aggressive, last-minute lobbying for his cause. The stadium bill died on the last night of the 2013 legislative session.

Beckham said he expects he will return to Tallahassee as lawmakers mull proposals that would require the state Department of Economic Opportunity to set up an evaluation process for proposed sales-tax rebates to attract or retain professional sports teams through stadium improvements and construction.

“I’m sure I’m going to need to come back here. At the end of the day, I’m very committed to this cause. I’m very committed to what we’re going to make here. And that’s what I’m all about. I’ve always been committed to everything I’ve set my mind to. It’s not something that we’re going to start the team and then in two years say thank you very much and leave. This is something that I’m in for the long haul and something I’m very excited about. I know we’re going to make Miami proud to have a stadium like we hope to build and that people in Miami and people around America will be proud of,” he said.

Tuesday’s legislative selfie Twitter trend didn’t go unnoticed by Billy Corben, a documentary director based in Miami.

“In November, I will vote for every Florida politician that doesn’t have a selfie with David Beckham. Both of them,” he tweeted.

–Dara Kam, News Service of Florida

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4 Responses for “David Beckham Lobbies Tallahassee for Tax Breaks on a Soccer Stadium in Miami”

  1. Dave Sullivan says:

    Orlando has recently been approved for a major league soccer franchise
    And the team will be in the league next season. I believe they will play at the University
    Of Central Florida until the new Orlando soccer only stadium is completed.
    Do not see any reason for Central and Northern Florida legislators to push
    for tax breaks in Miami on soccer until the Orlando franchise gets established.

  2. Charles Ericksen Jr says:

    Maybe Mr. Beckham should use some of the profits , from the sale of his Calvin Kline underwear ,to pay for the stadium..

  3. Brutus says:

    NO SOCCER STADIUMS in AMERICA…….Its just to “girlie” of a sport !!!!!!

  4. confidential says:

    I am all for soccer or any other sport…but do not suck taxpayers monies for that! Those events are very profitable and they should be self sustaining. How come we have no money for unemployment when workers are laid off, no money for food stamps for children of the poor, no Medicaid and no enough funds to take care of our maimed soldiers when the come back home if so! But we do have our tax funds for sports teams and owners stadiums funding, while these dudes are millionaires? C’mon! That is why I see the distortion of capitalism that compares to communism. Just instead of being the state elite the beneficiaries like in communist countries, here in our democracy are the wealthy elite individuals.

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