Inter Miami C.F. welcomes Lionel Messi and he’s already making an impact on Major League Soccer
Publications believe that Messi’s arrival with Inter Miami CF of Major League Soccer as a whole could be worth up to $2-5 billion.
He is currently one of the greatest players to step foot on a soccer field and now his presence is being felt across the Major League Soccer landscape.
Lionel Messi, 36, signed with Inter Miami CF during the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) Leagues Cup in July and has had an immediate impact on the fortunes of the franchise and Major League Soccer in general.
Lionel Messi is considered one of the world’s best players and goal scorers in the history of professional soccer.
Messi has scored an amazing 626 goals in 818 games prior to joining Inter Miami CF and he is generally considered one of the most popular players in World Soccer next to Cristiano Ronaldo. This guy even just won a World Cup last year for the Argentine National Club.
What will Messi’s impact on the league?
“La Presentación” saw the welcome of Lionel Messi to the team while they were in the Leagues Cup.
Publications have stated that Inter Miami CF’s signing of Messi (Signed to a 2-1/2 year contract and has designated player status) could see a massive demand for tickets and sure enough, it was correct. The first couple games saw sellouts and ticket prices increase fifty-fold for just this one player. Tickets for the FC Dallas – Inter Miami CF game went from $73/ticket to $845/ticket. Messi merchandise is flying off the shelves all over the place. Inter Miami CF’s demand for Messi merchandise has been absolutely insane by economic standards.
Inter Miami CF is currently dead last (5W-3D-14L) with 12 games remaining in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer. His arrival to the main regular season has been pushed back due to the team making the Leagues Cup Championship game versus Nashville SC. He’s scored 9 goals in just 6 games of play thus far.
Messi was made the captain of the team and he was welcomed with open arms on American soil. His first game saw him score a goal in extra time to give Inter Miami CF the resounding victory over a much more powerful Cruz Azul team from LigaMX.
Lionel Messi Goals:
July 21 – Leagues Cup – Vs. Cruz Azul (LigaMX) – 1 G – 90’+4
Final Result – Win – 2-1
July 25 – Leagues Cup – Vs. Atlanta United – 2 G – 8′, 22′
Final Result – Win – 4-0
August 2 – Leagues Cup – Vs. Orlando City SC – 2 G – 7′, 72′
Final Result – Win – 3-1
August 6 – Leagues Cup – Vs. FC Dallas – 2 G – 6′, 85′
Final Result – Win – 4-4 (5-3 PKs)
August 11 – Leagues Cup – Vs. Charlotte FC – 1 G – 86′
Final Result – Win – 4-0
August 15 – Leagues Cup – Vs. Philadelphia Union – 1 G – 20′
Final Result – Win – 4-1
How big of a revenue increase are we talking here?
By current estimations from many economic and sports publications, Messi’s impact could be well over $2 to $5 billion thanks to heavy increasing ticket demand, merchandise sales (online, stadium, and off-site) and advertising.
With just a handful of games remaining on the Inter Miami CF home schedule which includes a US Open Cup Semifinal game in Cincinnati on August 23, and ticket prices have been skyrocketing by nearly 575-940% per game according to most soccer publications. Many of Inter Miami FC’s away games have seen heavy ticket demand.
Television ratings for the streaming service Apple+ have been absolutely outstanding. Major League Soccer reports that there has been a 400% increase in purchases of the MLS Season Pass just to watch Messi.
Facebook’s Inter Miami CF page went from 375,000 likes/follows to over 2 million in just a few days’ time.
What does this mean for Major League Soccer as a whole?
Messi says that the MLS is not fear behind the European, Mexican, and South American leagues in terms of popularity and television ratings. Antoine Griezmann, Luka Modric, and several superstar European players said that they are ready to bolt for the MLS. Kylian Mbappe is also very interested in Major League Soccer once his contract with Paris-St. Germain ends.
Griezmann in general stated, “Judging from what I’ve seen in Major League Soccer, there seems to be a lot less pressure and they seem to have more fun in the league then we do here.”
The MLS in general is finding its footing in terms of revenue. It all began once David Beckham was signed by the L.A. Galaxy as a designated player (signed to a $32.5 million contract over 5 years) and effectively beginning the designated player rule in the MLS.
Players also believe that Messi’s entrance could in fact help double, triple, or quadruple salaries in general as MLS players make an average of $400,000 per season, very far lower than their European counterparts who make an average of $2.9-$3.5 million a season (salaries though paid weekly).
So America, buckle your seatbelts and Major League Soccer fans, get ready for the dominance of the greatest soccer player to step foot on the pitch. I won’t be surprised if he has 40-50 goals in one season next year. He may be 36 but he is still playing at a high level.