HomeLocalMessi-mania in Miami?

Messi-mania in Miami?

There are reminders around the city of Miami of Lionel Messi’s impending arrival: A mural of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner painted with pink and black Inter Miami colors in the artsy Wynwood neighborhood. Another painting of the soccer star at the entrance of a local Argentinian restaurant. No. 10 Argentina jerseys sprinkled throughout the city.

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Messi, who turned 36 this month, announced on June 7 that he was joining Inter Miami in a move that stunned the soccer world and will bring one of the sport’s biggest names to the United States and Miami, where enthusiasm for the sport has been growing over the years.

Messi, who spent the past two years with Paris Saint-Germain is still finalizing paperwork with his new club, but he is expected to make his Inter Miami debut at a July 21 home game against Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup.

The move is hoped to provide a huge boost to attendance and interest in Major League Soccer ahead of the 2026 World Cup, part of which will be hosted in the U.S., as well as for Inter Miami, a club led by another global soccer icon, David Beckham, that is looking to garner the same popularity as other sports franchises in South Florida.

“He’s going to be able to leave this wonderful legacy, and it’s a legacy that couldn’t be better timed,” said Anson Dorrance, who is in his 47th season as the women’s soccer coach at North Carolina. “We’re going to be hosting the next World Cup on the men’s side … And a part of constructing a platform to make sure we sell out every stadium is to make sure our top men’s professional league, the MLS, is also selling out all of our stadiums.”

The league is already getting there. Ticket prices for Inter Miami matches have skyrocketed since Messi’s announcement and teams are already selling additional tickets to future matches against the club.

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According to data provided by Vivid Seats, a ticket resale and exchange site, the average listed price for Inter Miami’s match against Cruz Azul in July jumped from $126 on June 6 (one day before Messi’s announcement) to $2,151 on June 20 — a 1,607% increase.

Site traffic, the company said, increased by 27,037% from June 6 to June 7.

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