No other sports star or figure comes remotely close to Lionel Messi’s gargantuan effect
Lionel Messi's immense impact surpasses that of any other sports star or figure. Let's begin by examining the quantitative measures of his influence both on and off the field.
The sales numbers for Messi jerseys are nothing short of extraordinary, comparable to a surge in demand for batteries ahead of a hurricane.
- Within the first 24 hours alone, Messi jersey sales outperformed those of any other player switching teams across all sports. This includes Cristiano Ronaldo's move to Manchester United in 2021, Tom Brady joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, and LeBron James becoming part of the Los Angeles Lakers roster in 2018 as reported by Espn.
- Fanatics, the digital sports platform and MLS e-commerce partner, added that merchandise sales for Inter Miami have skyrocketed since news broke about Messi joining the team. In fact, more team merchandise has been sold during this time than throughout all of 2023 combined. Additionally, Inter Miami has emerged as Fanatics' top-selling MLS club within this timeframe, selling an impressive 50% more merchandise than their closest competitor. Note: Inter Miami and M.L.S. official stores, managed by Fanatics, have announced that Adidas, the league's official jersey supplier, will be delivering their product in mid-October. This coincides with the end of the M.L.S. regular season.
- Jorge Mas, one of InterMiami's owners, expressed to CNBC his expectation that Messi's arrival will result in a doubling of Inter Miami's revenue and value. Forbes reports that their revenue for 2022 was $56 million and their current value is around $600 million.
- The Sports Business Journal reported in early June that Apple TV had approximately 700,000 MLS Season Pass subscribers. By Messi's debut game against Cruz Azul this number had risen to almost one million.
- On the secondary market, home game tickets used to sell for $150 but are now priced at $900 due to increased demand. Opposing teams are also benefiting from Inter Miami's popularity as stadium seats fill up and ticket prices skyrocket. For example, an InterMiami ticket for a game in New York used to cost $90 but now goes for as much as $1,700. We must take into account that Inter Miami competes in a stadium located approximately 30 miles north of downtown Miami. This stadium has a stated capacity of 19,000 and serves as a temporary venue until the construction of a larger one next to Miami International Airport is finished within the next two years.
Restaurants have modified their menus to feature dishes inspired by Messi. Murals and signs depicting Messi are appearing all over the place. Additionally, there is now a chicken sandwich at Hard Rock that draws inspiration from him, as well as the Messi Burger. There are also premium lagers and beers with Messi's name or Goat 10.
Photo source: Miami Herald, Lauren Witte