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MLS Wins Big With Messi’s Move to Inter Miami

  • Messi could debut with Inter Miami as soon as next month.
  • MLS partners Apple and Adidas are helping lure the soccer star to the U.S.
Sipa USA-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Soccer should enjoy new levels of prestige and relevance with Lionel Messi deciding to sign with Inter Miami.

On Wednesday afternoon, the club officially welcomed the 35-year-old icon on social media. 

Soccer fans around North America will have the chance to see the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner — and arguably the greatest player of all time — work his magic in new markets like South Florida’s DRV PNK Stadium.

Messi’s Inter Miami debut may come as soon as July 21 for a Leagues Cup match against Cruz Azul in Miami. Before the news was even official, TickPick data showed the get-in price of that game skyrocketing to $329 on Wednesday — a 1,034% increase from Tuesday’s price of $29.

Inter Miami has matches in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Orlando, Chicago, and Charlotte after July 21. This season, the club will visit 17 away venues.

Inter Miami added 1 million Instagram followers Wednesday as word spread that the legendary soccer player could join the squad — doubling the team’s audience on the platform in one day.

Messi reportedly turned down nearly $400 million from a Saudi Arabian club to join Inter Miami, but through his Inter Miami deal, Messi will receive a percentage of all new subscriptions to MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The streaming service is in the first year of a 10-year, $2.5 billion media rights deal that is now much more valuable with Messi playing games it exclusively broadcasts worldwide.

The Athletic reported the deal could also include profit-sharing from Adidas, which renewed its apparel deal with MLS before this season.

Messi owns a home in Miami and has ties with Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham — whose own MLS move in 2007 famously bumped the league’s profile.

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