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Saturday, June 22, 2024

With Messi, Attention Comes in All Forms

  • Inter Miami has gained 11.7 million social media followers since Messi announced his MLS move.
  • On Instagram, Miami is now the fourth-most followed U.S. sports franchise, surpassing all NFL, MLB, and NHL teams.
Messi brings instant impact to anything he touches.
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

In the six weeks since Lionel Messi announced his move, Inter Miami has gained 11.7 million new followers across their social media accounts — including nearly 10 million on Instagram alone — according to sponsorship analytics company KORE.

The David Beckham-owned club is now the most-followed MLS team on Instagram, and has surpassed every NFL, MLB, or NHL team.

On June 7, the day of Messi’s announcement, Inter Miami had around 900,000 Instagram followers. The club’s account now has 10.4 million — which ranks fourth among all U.S. sports franchises on Instagram — before Messi has even played his first match with the club. Messi’s old club, Paris Saint-Germain, has lost 2.8 million Instagram followers since his last game.

The NBA’s Golden State Warriors (31M), Los Angeles Lakers (23M), and Cleveland Cavaliers (15.9M) are the only ones ahead of Inter Miami, which is also the only non-NBA team to make the top 10 of most-followed U.S. team accounts on Instagram.

KORE tracked that Inter Miami had 19.4 million social media engagements in the month of June, a staggering number over all other MLS clubs. (LA Galaxy ranked second in June with 1.3 million engagements on social media.) Messi’s personal Instagram account has gained nearly 22 million followers since June 7, according to SponsorUnited.

Messi is the second-most followed individual account on Instagram as his 479 million followers ranks only behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s 597 million. Among the brand sponsors to benefit from Messi’s gigantic social footprint include Apple, Adidas, and Sorare, the NFT fantasy sports startup that was valued at $4.3 billion in 2021 after raising $680 million. 

“Leo [Messi] has global recognition, he transcends any one specific sport or market, he can help drive awareness of Sorare to tens of millions of people across the world,” Michael Meltzer, Sorare’s head of business development, told Front Office Sports. “[Messi’s] one of the elite players within the Sorare ecosystem and we’ve seen a healthy increase in his card prices since he announced his move to MLS.”

Messi joined Sorare as an investor and ambassador in November 2022. Paris-based Sorare has 3 million users worldwide, and its digital player cards are used in licensed fantasy games for MLS, the NBA, and MLB as well as European soccer’s LaLiga, English Premier League, Serie A, Ligue 1, and Bundesliga, among others. On Sorare’s homepage, Messi is featured in a company-branded jersey.

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