Why Lionel Messi Going to the MLS Is a Gamechanger for the League

When news broke that Lionel Messi was shifting from elite-level European football to play in North America, the world was left in a state of shock.  The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner stunned football fans when revealing his decision to join Inter Miami in the late summer, rejecting the advances from his former club Barcelona in the process. 


Footballing purists will often have an issue with superstars joining leagues that aren’t necessarily known as the world’s best. But there’s no denying that after obtaining 43 trophies for club and country, the opportunity to complete the latter stage of your career on South Beach is something that most of us would consider. 


Helping Evolve Major League Soccer: The Messi Effect 



When Inter Miami approached Messi and completed the deal, it was reminiscent of the deal that saw David Beckham arrive in Los Angeles in 2007. Now, as part owner of Miami, Beckham has been a helping hand in outdoing the deal that once brought him stateside. Messi’s arrival is arguably the most significant signing in US-football history, and it has already catapulted the sport’s popularity before the Argentinian made his debut. 


Lionel Messi’s MLS debut is scheduled for July 21, 2023. He will play for Inter Miami CF against Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup. The Leagues Cup is a competition between clubs from MLS and Liga MX. You can watch your favorite Liga club face off against MLS teams. If you are a New England Revolution fan, you can use a WynnBET Massachusetts promo code to maximize your potential winnings. 


But if there’s a sure bet to make between friends that will guarantee a profit, it’s the fact that Messi’s pairing with Inter Miami will prove extremely lucrative for all of those involved. The 35-year-old’s MLS contract is tied with Apple and Adidas, and the name value of his superstar status has already bolstered profits in multiple avenues. 


Exiting Paris Saint-Germain for Beckham’s franchise will not only gift Messi a pleasurable location to retire in, but the landscape of football in the United States can only receive an upwards trajectory in multiple facets. Ticket sales for Inter Miami’s away schedule instantly sold-out hours after the announcement, and some second-hand tickets are listed at $20,000. 


And it isn’t just North Americans receiving Messi fever; the impact of his impending arrival to the MLS is being felt worldwide. Factory demands for Inter Miami jerseys and merchandise are soaring across the globe. Interestingly, Embelex – the licensed sponsor for MLS jersey’s names and numbers – were forced to double their staff to stay on track with the demands. 


A spokesperson for Embelex said: “We’re preparing capacity, making sure we’re staffed with extra personnel and shifts because these presses will be running 24 hours a day nonstop for the next few weeks, at least. Our job is to keep up with the demand for the Messi jerseys. We’ve already started some operations running products ahead of time, even before signing, knowing once we get the OK from MLS, we’ll start shipping that day.” 


MLS Viewership, Revenue & More


When looking at the bigger picture, Messi’s arrival will emulate Beckham’s and more. With one of the greatest players in the sport’s history gracing the MLS, the viewership numbers and overall revenue is set to receive a significant boost. Messi himself won’t go without either. The World Cup winner will receive a cut from Apple’s MLS broadcasting revenue and a share from his sponsor Adidas, who’re conveniently the MLS’s official partner. In addition, Messi has been offered ownership stakes in the club. 


As previously mentioned, the factors surrounding this transfer are incredibly similar to that of David Beckham’s move in 2007. But with the USA set to co-host the World Cup in 2026 and Messi’s position as one of the best players in football history, one can only imagine the monetary ceiling for Argentina’s on-pitchero and those involved is higher than any other player in history that’s decided to compete in the MLS.