Soccer superstar Lionel Messi's move to Major League Soccer has made an impact on ticket sales, as prices for late-season games in the U.S. have surged by over 1,700% on the secondary market, compared with last year.
Messi signed a blockbuster contract with the club Inter Miami CF in July for $50 million to $60 million per year, which includes an equity stake in the team, CNN reports. Messi also signed undisclosed revenue-sharing agreements with Apple TV and Adidas.
Messi coming to the U.S. has created a surge of interest in the team and MLS, which isn't commonly considered among the world's top-tier leagues in terms of overall talent.
With Messi's signing, subscriptions to "MLS Season Pass" on Apple TV have doubled, according to Inter Miami owner Jorge Mas. Inter Miami's Instagram account has grown from 1 million to 14 million followers, according to the Miami Herald. And demand for Messi-branded jerseys has been so strong that the MLS' official online store has pushed off delivery on orders until as late as October.
Perhaps most strikingly, Inter Miami ticket prices have increased for both home and away games.
For home games, the average list price on the secondary market is up from $152 to $864 since Messi's signing, an increase of 468% as of Aug. 18, according to data provided by TicketIQ.
The effect is more pronounced for the away games, which include larger markets such as New York and Los Angeles. For all remaining away games combined, average ticket prices are up by 1,002% compared with last year, as of Aug. 15.
Here's a look at the average ticket prices for Inter Miami's remaining games this season.
For an upcoming game against the New York Red Bulls, the average ticket price is $1,674. Last year, the average ticket price against the same team was only $90 — a 1,760% difference.
Similarly, the average ticket price for a game against rival Orlando City SC was only $97 in 2022, but has skyrocketed to $1,755 with Messi's arrival — a 1,709% difference.
Even the cheap seats have bumped up in price. The lowest-cost ticket for a game against the New York Red Bulls has shot up from around $36 to $578 with Messi's arrival, according to TicketIQ data. Likewise, the cheapest ticket for a match against Chicago Fire FC was $23 last year but has since climbed to $192.
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