Major League Soccer’s hottest rising star has paid off for the Miami International team.
The arrival of all-time football great Lionel Messi is expected to boost the club’s revenue over the next 12 months, club general manager Jorge Mas said on CNBC’s Halftime Report. doubled within a month. The Argentina international and former Barcelona star joined Inter Miami on Monday.
Mas also said his team could be valued at $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion next year. Forbes’ latest estimate ranks the Miami Heat as the 11th most valuable team in MLS at $600 million.
“When we entered the program at Inter Miami, we really wanted to be the premier football platform in the United States,” Maas said.
Supporters of Argentine football player Leo Messi gather outside Inter Miami DRV Pnk Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, July 11, 2023.
Marco Bello | Reuters
He said the process of bringing Messi to Miami began in 2019, when he and partner David Beckham flew to Barcelona to meet Messi’s father.
“Whenever an athlete has a real chance to change the game, I think that’s when Messi gets ahead of himself,” Maas said.
Maas said he’s already seeing a huge “Macy effect” in business and across South Florida.
“It’s the only thing people talk about,” he added.
Messi’s jersey is sold out and Adidas is printing it around the clock, Mass said.
Sports e-commerce platform Fanatics told CNBC that Messi may set a record for the most jerseys sold within 24 hours of joining a new team in any sport. Messi’s sales equaled the first-day shirt sales record set by Cristiano Ronaldo following his move to Manchester United in 2021.
Ticket prices for Messi’s U.S. debut on Friday averaged close to $1,300 on secondary ticketing platforms such as TicketIQ.
Maas said he hopes the buzz will help MLS grow to compete with Europe’s top leagues.
“I see a responsibility on myself and my partners in MLS and the other owners to seize the opportunity in front of us, hopefully in the next three to five years to elevate MLS to compete with the Premier League, said Maas.