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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Inter Miami’s World Tour is Good For Business. Is it Good for the Team?

  • The Lionel Messi-led squad will travel more than 23,000 miles over the next several weeks.
  • Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong are among preseason match locations.
Inter Miami
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Inter Miami will travel to El Salvador this week to kick off the club’s preseason international tour, which will require more than 23,000 miles of travel for six matches in five different countries across 20 days.

The schedule is unprecedented for an MLS team, but it’s the new reality for a franchise looking to capitalize on the legendary Lionel Messi in every way possible. Here’s what the next three weeks will look like for Inter Miami:

  • Friday: El Salvador national team, in San Salvador (1,018 miles from Miami)
  • Jan. 22: FC Dallas, at Cotton Bowl Stadium (1,402 miles)
  • Jan. 29: Saudi club Al-Hilal, in Riyadh (7,799 miles)
  • Feb. 1: Al Nassr, in Riyadh
  • Feb. 4: Hong Kong all-stars (4,233 miles)
  • Feb. 7: Vissel Kobe, in Tokyo (1,794 miles)

After another 7,000-plus-mile flight home, Inter Miami will host one final preseason match on Feb. 15 against Argentine side Club Atlético Newell’s Old Boys, for whom Messi played during his youth career.

Only one other MLS team, Real Salt Lake, is scheduled to venture outside North America this preseason, with three matches on tap in Portugal. Last week, Inter Miami manager Tata Martino confirmed that some of his club’s stars are required to participate in the international friendlies as part of the tour’s contracts. Both Martino and star midfielder Sergio Busquets acknowledged the challenges of balancing the “business side” of the preseason prep with getting in shape on the pitch.

It is unclear how much money the international tour will bring in, but Inter Miami executives have made no secret about their goal to reach $200 million in revenue during 2024, after last season bringing in a record $120 million. Inter Miami begins its regular season on Feb. 21.

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