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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Lionel Messi Could Make $25 Million Off Saudi Tourism Deal

  • Messi’s deal with Saudi Arabia includes payments for social media posts and vacations to the Kingdom.
  • The soccer star will continue promoting Saudi Arabia while playing for Inter Miami in MLS.
Messi's contract says he cannot say anything that might “tarnish” Saudi Arabia.
Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Lionel Messi’s tourism ambassador deal with Saudi Arabia’s government could pay the soccer superstar up to $25 million over three years, according to a report from the New York Times. 

Messi, who has 473 million followers on Instagram, first unveiled his partnership with the Saudi Tourism Authority last year with a May 2022 Instagram ad post captioned “Discovering the Red Sea #VisitSaudi.”

Saudi Arabia’s contract with Messi reportedly pays him $2 million for 10 promotional social media posts per year. He is paid another $2 million to take an annual family vacation to the Kingdom, with travel expenses and five-star accommodations covered for Messi and up to 20 of his family and friends. Messi also receives $2 million for charitable appearances and another $2 million to participate in Saudi Arabia’s annual tourism campaign. 

A document obtained by the Times includes a condition that Messi cannot say anything that might “tarnish” Saudi Arabia, a country that faces criticism for human rights issues. 

Messi was reportedly offered $1.6 billion over three years to play for Saudi club Al Hilal, but he rejected that offer to instead sign with Inter Miami in MLS in a deal that includes revenue splits with Apple and Adidas as well as an equity stake option in the team. 

Saudi Arabia’s soccer push includes its record-breaking contract with Cristiano Ronaldo and a $1 billion fund committed to signing stars such as Karim Benzema who joins Al-Ittihad next month. The country’s Public Investment Fund also owns English Premier League club Newcastle United. In golf, Saudi’s LIV Tour agreed to merge with the PGA Tour.

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