Lionel Messi’s move to Inter Miami is already making a major impact on Major League Soccer.
Fans in the six markets Miami is scheduled to play after Messi’s estimated debut on July 21 are wasting no time preparing for the soccer legend.
Secondary markets are unsurprisingly skyrocketing, some growing as much as tenfold since Wednesday morning, and get-in prices have reached $500 in Los Angeles, according to Elevate Marketplace.
Charlotte FC and Atlanta United already decided to open the upper levels of their stadiums to allow for full capacity instead of their usual crowds of approximately 30,000 each. Orlando City is using its home match against Inter Miami to drive season-ticket sales.
Speculation is mounting that Inter Miami could even play some home matches at the Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium to accommodate more fans than its 19,000-capacity DRV Pink Stadium.
Club co-owner David Beckham will look to capitalize on the hype. “If the existing equity owners want to create liquidity, now would seem to be a decent time to do it,” Irwin Kishner, co-chair of the sports law group at Herrick, Feinstein LLP, told Front Office sports.
League partners like Apple — which is reportedly facilitating Messi’s signing with a revenue-sharing component — will no doubt benefit from the move as well.
“Everybody was sort of scratching their heads,” Kishner said of the initial reaction to Apple’s $2.5 billion deal to broadcast MLS games. “What does Apple see?”
The league now boasts the most popular soccer player in the world.
“It makes Apple look really smart,” said Kishner.