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Lionel Messi’s move to Inter Miami gives MLS a priceless boost

Lionel Messi goes to America

play soccer

It may sound like a mistake, but it’s true. The most decorated player in sports history has brought his talents to South Beach and has agreed to a multi-year deal with South Beach. intel miami of MLS. Even Messi himself admitted it.

“I decided to go to Miami,” Messi said in Spanish. A short video released by Diario Sport on Wednesday, Spanish sports daily. “It’s not 100% finished yet. Some things are missing. But we decided to continue on this path.”

It’s a potentially transformative avenue for MLS, which is already fast becoming one of the world’s top football leagues.

Inter Miami CEO and managing owner Jorge Mas teased the announcement by posting a stylish photo of Inter Miami’s number 10 jersey (Messi’s number). on his social media accounts Meanwhile, the league issued a cautiously optimistic two-sentence statement.

“I am delighted that Lionel Messi has announced his intention to join Inter Miami CF and Major League Soccer this summer,” it read. “There is still work to finalize a formal agreement, but we are looking forward to welcoming one of the greatest footballers of all time to the league.”

MLS Since David Beckham took over in 2007, the team has more than doubled in size from 12 to 30 teams, and expansion costs have increased from $10 million to $500 million during that time. Last year, MLS posted his sixth-highest average attendance of any soccer league on the planet, and with the World Cup returning to North America three years after his, the sport has seen a rise in overcrowding in the United States. Ready to break through the sports environment.

Messi will take that momentum even further.

The seven-time World Player of the Year, who turns 36 later this month, led Argentina to their first World Cup title in 36 years last fall, bringing the only big prize money missing from his resume. In his 17 seasons with Barcelona, ​​he won 10 La Liga titles, won the Champions League four times and also topped Europe’s top leagues with six goals. He has spent the last two years in France, winning two league titles with Paris Saint-Germain, and his 806 goals for club and country are second only to Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona failed to bring back Messi for an encore, but club president Joan Laporta said he was informed of the player’s decision on Monday. On Wednesday, the team released its own statement disparaging MLS, saying it “respected Messi’s decision to play in a less demanding league, far away from the spotlight and the pressures of recent years.” “

The player, who spent $7.2 million two years ago to purchase the entire ninth floor of a luxury condominium in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., appears to support the idea, according to Spanish sports daily Mundo Deportivo. “I want to leave Europe, get out of the spotlight and think more about my family.”

“After winning the World Cup and not being able to go back to Barcelona, ​​now it was my turn to go to the US league and enjoy football in a different way and enjoy my days more,” he added.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi celebrates with the trophy in front of his fans after another victory over France in the World Cup final in Lusail, Qatar, December 18, 2022.

(Martin Meissner/Associated Press)

A league with a salary cap was able to outbid the well-funded Saudi Pro League, the Qatari owners of Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, ​​which Deloitte has named as the seventh richest club in the world. The facts are astonishing. And it took a lot of creativity and collaboration from two of MLS and the league’s key partners, Apple and Adidas, to get it done.

Financial details of Messi’s deal with Inter Miami have not been released, but Messi reportedly earns a base salary of more than $40 million per season during his two years at PSG and spends a year to play for Saudi Arabia. He was offered $400 million.

Annual salaries for MLS teams are $5.21 order to whole team. Messi would have achieved that in less than a week in Riyadh.

However, MLS allows teams to sign up to three players with unlimited salaries, only some of which apply to the cap. The rule was adopted in 2007 and allowed the Galaxy to sign Beckham for a then-record $6.5 million a season.

The league swallowed the offer by including a clause allowing Beckham to purchase an expanded MLS franchise for $25 million. Beckham accepted the offer when he joined Miami’s owners group in 2013. With the signing of Messi, Beckham is about to change the trajectory of MLS once again. But with the expansion costing $500 million, the league had to find another way to fund the deal.

As such, MLS turned to its partners, according to league officials, who are not authorized to discuss the negotiations publicly. Apple will underwrite the deal, as will Adidas, the league’s kit sponsor, which has worked with Messi since 2006, in the first season of a 10-year, $2.5 billion deal to broadcast league games on the Apple TV streaming platform. We plan to support it. Both are possible. It has benefited greatly from its deal with Apple, which announced on Tuesday it would air a four-part documentary series about Messi’s victory at last fall’s World Cup, prompting a surge in overseas subscribers for its MLS season pass package. Expected.

But no one will benefit from Messi’s decision more than MLS, which has received a valuable boost in both attention and fame.

The economic impact of the deal is already being felt in parts of the league, even though the deal is not yet final. Messi is set to make his MLS debut in July, so suggested ticket prices for Inter Miami’s Sept. 3 game against LAFC have dropped. Tickets at BMO Stadium topped $4,700 on the secondary market Wednesday afternoon. .

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