Back home, as I am a “futbol” fan, Lionel Messi has changed the landscape of South Forida sports. My family went to one of the games and the lowest ticket was $200.
Despite the fact that it is not the first time that the MLS has had international stars -David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Thierry Henry have also passed through the league- the furor that Messi is unleashing, inside and outside the stadium, has no comparison.
“I went to the Taylor Swift concert and I thought there was only one person who could turn the world upside down, but now there are two. What Messi has done to sport in this league is like nothing I’ve ever seen,” he explains. to a small group of media the commentator Taylor Twellman, of the MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
This obsession with seeing Messi play in the pink shirt is also driven by the fact that the Argentine star triumphs whenever he steps on the pitch. So far he has scored eleven goals in nine games and has helped Inter Miami sweep the Leagues Cup and qualify for the US Open Cup final.
An example of this Messimania is the case of Eli, an eleven-year-old boy who lives in New Jersey and who normally supports the New York Red Bulls, but who yesterday put on Messi’s 10 to watch his team play at home against Inter Miami.
Outside the stadium, many were selling imitations of the 36-year-old’s new jersey for $35.
However, the official shirt is sold by Adidas and on its website it costs between 100 and 180 dollars depending on the model.
THE MESSI EFFECT SHOTS UP THE PRICE OF TICKETS
Since the announcement of the signing of Messi in June, the average price of tickets to see Inter Miami has multiplied by more than five, according to what the ticket sales company StubHub told EFE.
Yesterday’s tickets had an average price of $502, while before the arrival of the Argentine star the average value of tickets for the New York Red Bulls was $46, VividSeats confirmed to EFE.
Fernando Veron, an Argentine who has settled in New Jersey for two decades, tells EFE that he bought five tickets for $480 each three days before the game.
The most expensive tickets for Saturday’s game were around $3,600, according to local media.
THE INTERNATIONALIZATION OF MLS
MLS Season Pass commentator on Apple TV Kevin Egan stresses that since Pelé joined the New York Cosmos in 1975 until now the way of consuming soccer has completely changed due to social networks and video on demand.
In this sense, it stands out that the clip of Messi’s first goal at Inter was seen on social networks by 50 million people.
For his part, fellow commentator and former soccer player Sacha Kljestan points out that the league is now more accessible due to the fact that Apple TV broadcasts MLS to the entire world in English and Spanish.
“I played in Europe and my parents couldn’t watch my matches unless they watched them illegally on the internet. Now all Messi’s fans around the world can watch his matches,” Kljestan notes.
While Apple has yet to release specific viewership numbers since Messi’s arrival on July 21, it explained in a statement that the week of July 19-26 had “the 3 most-watched games ever on MLS Season Pass, with viewers in nearly 100 countries.
Apple is currently in the first season of a ten-year, $2.5 billion global broadcast deal that includes the rights to every game in the top flight of US soccer.
MESSI ALSO TAKES A PIECE OF THE CAKE
Apple, Adidas and MLS itself have played a key role in the negotiations for Leo Messi to join Inter Miami.
According to sports press, MLS and Apple offered Messi a share of the profits generated by new subscribers to Apple TV+’s MLS Season Pass streaming service.
On the other hand, Adidas, a sponsor of Messi since he was very young, also offered to share with the player a part of the benefits derived from his arrival in the MLS in the sale of promotional items.