When a team acquires a global sporting icon, a superstar’s power can singlehandedly transform the commercial appeal of the acquiring franchise. It can turbo-charge the evolution of a sport and/or league, specifically if the location has otherwise lacked the attention it requires.
One of the greatest examples of this came to fruition when LionelMessi’s signature hit pen-to-paper with Inter Miami. This transfer is a game-changer for Major League Soccer and is set to make the US franchise worth more than $1 billion.
Messi to Inter Miami: An instant impact
With the arrival of Messi, the long-term revenue growth of Inter Miami is inevitable. However, nobody could have anticipated the immediate impact the signing would have on the club.
The cost of Inter Miami ticket prices soared! Messi’s debut appearance hadn’t been confirmed, but soccer fans didn’t want to miss an opportunity. InterMiami’s 2023 Leagues Cup meeting with Cruz Azul initially posted ticket prices of $29; after the Messi announcement, those same tickets jumped to $329. And this was just the beginning.
In August, Miami’s fixture versus the New York Red Bulls witnessed $30 ticket prices go as high as $401, and their tie with Los Angeles FC is now $422.
The club has seen a 1000% increase in ticket prices overall within hours of Messi confirming his move.
However, Inter Miami Won’t be the sole beneficiary of Messi’s arrival. Most financial experts have predicted the obvious, such as the clubs’ value and overall revenue gain. Still, the sportsbooks will also receive a helping hand from the Argentine’s relocation to North America.
For example, an upcoming fixture between Inter Miami and New England Revolution will undoubtedly significantly increase wagers placed by punters. Massachusetts betting apps have Revolution fans covered as Messi coming to town will surely see lots of action on the game and MLS in general.
Benefiting from Superstar Power
Ben Peppi, a commercial sports expert from JMW Solicitors, highlighted the benefits of Messi’s move to Miami.
“Lionel Messi’s move to Inter Miami is a game changer for MLS and draws comparison to David Beckham joining LA Galaxy and Pele playing for the New York Cosmos, although the Argentine’s arrival is more significant given how football and sport, in general, has shifted and is now consumed,” Peppi said.
“The younger demographic of fans now follow the individual as opposed to the team – Messi’s move to MLS will shift his followers’ attention from Paris to Miami.” He added.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has also been tipped to propel Inter Miami into the world’s top 20 most valuable soccer clubs, with valuations estimated at around $1 billion.
Peppi continued: “This adds to Inter Miami becoming a truly global brand overnight with the presence of both Beckham and Messi, two stars who transcend the sport itself and are recognizable names to those with even the slightest interest in football.
“As a result of Messi’s move, the club’s valuation is likely to skyrocket past the $1bn mark pretty quick – tickets for what could be the forward’s debut are selling for over $500 already.”
The 35-year-old will become a cash cow in multiple facets. He’ll attract new sponsors to Inter Miami and boost merchandise sales while significantly impacting the team’s fan base domestically and globally.
Major League Soccer is additionally set to benefit, which signed a $2.5bn 10-year broadcast contract with Apple last year.
“The arrival of Lionel Messi to Inter Miami signifies a turning point in the sport’s landscape, unlocking the immense potential for growth across the US,” said the head of sports services at consultancy Brand Finance, Hugo Hensley.
“With Messi joining the club, it aims to redefine its brand, forging valuable partnerships that extend beyond his playing days. The power of his superstar endorsement cannot be underestimated.”
The Messi Effect: Conclusion
The arrival of Lionel Messi to Inter Miami will provide a significant opportunity to intensify commercial revenue, as sponsorship and merchandise sales are expected to benefit largely from his presence. Moreover, Messi’s awe-inspiring talents and emblematic status should strengthen on-pitch performances, draw a wider fan base, and possibly entice a greater Latin American audience, which national team players currently drive. The outpouring popularity could potentially heighten broadcasting and gameday revenue and improve MLS attendance nationwide.