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.