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Inter Miami takes big step toward new stadium, but hurdles may remain

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Inter Miami Managing Owner Jorge Mas on Thursday said that negotiations over the proposal to build Miami Freedom Park "are complete,” according to Michelle Kaufman of the MIAMI HERALD. Now, a long-awaited City Commission vote on plans to “redevelop Melreese golf course" into a $1B soccer stadium complex, shopping mall, hotel and park "could be scheduled by late January." Suarez noted the agreement is "subject to approval from the City Commission.” Kaufman notes this is "as close as Miami has gotten" to an MLS stadium deal in a quarter century. Mas of the proposal said, “I’m very optimistic we’ll be able to pull four votes. It’s not done until it’s done, but we wouldn’t be bringing something to the commission if we didn’t think it could pass.” He hopes to "break ground in fall of this year" and "open the 27,000-28,000-seat stadium in late 2024." But Kaufman notes there may be "further hurdles and delays." Former Miami-based MLS club the Fusion had a plan to "begin play in March 1998 at the Orange Bowl," but team owner Ken Horowitz, then-Miami Mayor Joe Carollo and the City Commission "could not come to terms on a lease agreement." So Horowitz "took the team to Fort Lauderdale and upgraded Lockhart Stadium,” where the Fusion played until they folded in ‘01. Then-MLS Commissioner Doug Logan "complained about Miami politics slowing down the franchise startup.” Kaufman: "Bumpy road? Political side trips? Miami MLS team playing in Fort Lauderdale? Sound familiar?” (MIAMI HERALD, 1/7).

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SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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