He hasn’t even kicked a ball for them yet, but Lionel Messi is already proving to be big box office for his new club Inter Miami.
The Argentine World Cup winner shocked the sporting world in June when he announced that he’d join the David Beckham-owned MLS club, despite rumours linking him with a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia (where his rival Cristiano Ronaldo currently plays for Al-Nassr), and a return to the team with which he’ll always be associated: the Spanish giants, Barcelona.
Messi brings with him a level of celebrity not seen in US soccer since the likes of Bobby Moore, George Best and Pele played in the North American Soccer League back in the 1970s, and it’s no surprise that interest in tickets (and the price tag for them) has skyrocketed. Fans are eager to see one of the greatest to ever play the game in the flesh, and will seemingly pay massively over the odds to be able to do so.
Ticketing company VividSeats said earlier in June that tickets for some Inter Miami games have gone up by nearly 1000%, with seats for the club’s Leagues Cup clash with Mexican side Cruz Azul on July 21st now hitting the heights of $1,248. They were previously around $120.
That match has been rumoured to be Messi’s debut, but there are no assurances either way and that match isn’t the only one to see prices rise as cities around the United States look to get in on the action. Miami’s trip to Los Angeles FC in September, for example, saw a 400% rise in ticket price.
Adidas and Apple also stand to benefit from the move. Forbes has reported that Adidas shares are set to jump by 30% following the move, while Apple – who broadcast MLS matches through Apple TV+ – are anticipating a big jump in subscribers after struggling to gain traction earlier in the season.
The news will undoubtedly be welcomed by the tech giant, who had previously cut prices on subscriptions in order to encourage more interest from US fans, who typically get their sporting fix from basketball, baseball, ice hockey an American Football.
Thanks to the terms of his agreement, Messi will also benefit from both companies’ good fortunes, with a portion of the profits that can be tied directly to Messi’s MLS move heading to the Argentine’s back pocket.
It all means that Messi is set for a very lucrative and exciting end to his career, but just because his final years as a player are coming it doesn’t mean he’s showing any signs of slowing down. With the club season over, internationals are taking centre stage at the moment, and Messi hit the headlines this week when he scored the fastest goal of his Argentina career in a match against Australia.
The forward found the net just one minute and 21 seconds into the match as the World Cup holders beat the Socceroos 2-0. His previous fastest goal came three minutes into his country’s 2014 World Cup clash against Nigeria.