The Messi Effect: Lionel Messi’s Impact on the MLS

The Messi Effect: Lionel Messi’s Impact on the MLS

When it comes to the beautiful game, Lionel Messi is a player that needs no introduction. Known globally for his remarkable talent and charisma by fans and critics alike, Messi has had a profound impact on the Major League Soccer (MLS) since joining Inter Miami in 2023. His arrival has launched MLS into a new era, reenforcing the league and inspiring a new generation of players. To learn more about ‘The Messi Effect’ and how it will influence the future of MLS as we know it, keep reading!


Increased Popularity & Revenue

It’s no surprise that the world-famous soccer player’s decision to join MLS has increased viewership and attendance. However, the amount of global recognition gained has exceeded what any of us could have imagined. Messi has changed the rules of the game, consistently selling-out every stadium he’s played in since making the switch. Bright pink Inter Miami jerseys with Messi’s iconic ‘number 10’ can be seen in the crowds, as far as the eye can see. The MLS is now being eagerly watched by soccer enthusiasts who were disinterested before Messi.

With game attendance rising, so is the U.S. economy. Tickets to see the Inter Miami team have skyrocketed in price by as much as 1,700%. In 2022, MLS teams brought in an average of $57 million per year, but Messi’s arrival is estimated to generate up to $265 million in revenue for Inter Miami, increasing its value by as much as 30%.

Aside from the revenue generated for Major League Soccer, Miami tourism is also getting a boost. Since most fans can’t wait for Messi to come to their city, they’re travelling to Miami to see their favourite star live, resulting in up to a 10% increase in Miami tourism.


Raised Level of Competition

Messi’s presence in the MLS has inspired other players to improve their skills and strive for greatness, resulting in more competitive matches. His energy and determination is infectious and the team’s set on following his lead. Since his arrival, Lionel Messi has assisted in helping Inter Miami win the League Cup trophy, putting them in position for the MLS playoffs. The tactical level as a whole has also been visibly improved. Games that feature Messi are being played with more precision and technique than without. ­­ ­


Increased Investment & Sponsors

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has also attracted more investment and sponsorship opportunities for the MLS. One of the big turning points for the league was the 10-year, $2.5 billion deal with Apple, who now has exclusive television rights to the MLS. Now you can watch the games from anywhere in the world through the Apple TV+ app. Apple gained a massive surge in subscriptions on the day of Messi’s Inter Miami debut. On this day, around 110,000 new subscribers signed up for the ‘MLS Season Pass’ which allows fans to stream and rewatch every match of the 2023 season. Another 65,000 subscribers signed up in time for Messi’s first game.

MLS club owners have also been aware of the surge in popularity since his arrival and have been continuously raising the salary cap. The owners have also been investing in the GAM (General Allocation Money), which was created to assist with bringing on more mid-level players.


Inspiring the Next Generations

Lionel Messi has influenced far more than just the professional side of soccer. His presence in the MLS has also inspired young soccer players, motivating them to work harder and dream bigger. Messi is often seen visiting the Inter Miami CF Academy, a training facility that prides itself on developing the best talent in South Florida. He drops in almost every day to stay and watch the young player’s train. Academy players, parents, and even staff members are ecstatic to have this much access to one of the greatest soccer player of all time. Messi is a huge role model for aspiring soccer players around the world, acting as a shining example of what it takes to become an athlete of his caliber.

There’s no denying the magic of the Messi Effect and his ability to inspire the new generations, raise the competition, and bestow overall success wherever he goes. The MLS has massively benefited from Messi's presence, and he’ll continue to shape the league's future as time goes on. The global superstar has demonstrated again and again that it takes more than just skill to become a legend. We can’t wait to see what else is in store for Lionel Messi’s remarkable achievements.

Are you a die-hard fan of Inter Miami and the GOAT? If so, check out our selection of Inter Miami merch and Lionel Messi collectibles.


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