In the history of Major League Soccer (MLS), no player transfer has had an impact as big as Lionel Messi.

The 2023 Leagues Cup Round of 16 match between Miami Inter and FC Dallas was played on August 8, 2023, in Frisco. In one week before the match, VIP tickets available for presale roared to $199 to $499. One day later, the general admission tickets were sold out within 10 minutes. Later on, scalpers pushed the tickets to the cheapest tickets to over 700 US dollars.

Frisco is a small city with a population of just over 210,000 people. The match is estimated to have had a direct economic impact of $3 million on the city.

According to CNN, it is relatively easy to watch Lionel Messi's matches in the United States, but his jersey will not be available until October 2023. Adidas has stated that demand for Messi's jersey has been "unprecedented." Sports analytics company estimates that the MLS video of Messi's signing has been viewed over 214 million times and has generated over 15 million social media engagements.

Photo/Miami Inter website

Lionel Messi's signing with Inter Miami has also led to a significant increase in the club's valuation. According to a report by Sports Business Journal in September 2022, Inter Miami was valued at $585 million, which ranked 10th in the MLS. The most valuable team in the league, Los Angeles FC, was valued at $900 million. Sports Business Journal predicts that Inter Miami will become the first MLS team to be valued at over $1 billion in the next year.

Wu Xuesong, former manager of ADO Den Haag, told NBD that "Messi's signing with Inter Miami has undoubtedly boosted the club's value and influence, and the club's valuation has also risen sharply. In addition, Messi has a quick and obvious effect on the number of social media fans and ticket sales of Inter Miami."

NBD noted that before Lionel Messi officially joined Inter Miami, the club had only about 100,000 followers on Instagram. After Messi joined, Inter Miami's Instagram follower count skyrocketed by nearly 13 times to 13.73 million, ranking fourth among all American sports clubs, only behind the NBA's Golden State Warriors (31 million), Los Angeles Lakers (23 million), and Cleveland Cavaliers (16 million).

Wu Xuesong believes that Messi's arrival will improve the level of the entire MLS. He told NBD  that the MLS was previously only able to attract some South American players, but now some top European players are also considering playing in the MLS.

"In fact, American sports are different from European sports: American sports are essentially entertaining, while European sports are more competitive. For example, the Premier League relegation system is very cruel every season, while American sports, such as the NBA and MLS, do not have relegation. Therefore, Messi's arrival will greatly improve the competitive level of MLS and enhance the overall viewing experience of the league.

Fort Lauderdale, the home of Inter Miami, is also benefiting from the club's success.

Messi's arrival is already having an impact and "jump-started economic growth, investments and opportunities that have made an impact not just on South Florida, but the state as a whole," Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told FOX Business. We are extremely excited to have Messi call Fort Lauderdale home and welcome him with open arms. We will invest in expanding the stadium, increasing train service, and other transportation options."

In addition, according to a news release from the City of Fort Lauderdale, the city's hotel count is expected to increase further following Inter Miami's signing of Lionel Messi.

In talking about the economic impact of Lionel Messi on Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Wu Xuesong told NBD, “sports is actually an important factor in the continuous upgrading and evolution of cities. In Europe, a particularly good example is Manchester in the United Kingdom. Manchester. As a traditional industrial area, Manchester has actually declined for a long time. But Manchester United and Manchester City clubs have given the vitality of this city, and now it has become a city with a booming economy. With the addition of Messi, the stadium will be expanded. As the population of the Miami area is mainly Hispanic, Messi will have a particularly good foundation among the public here."

Editor: Alexander