Lionel Messi’s move to Miami immediately triggers a ticket boom – even for MLS games he is unlikely to attend


Lionel Messi arrives at MLS and ticket prices skyrocket. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz, file)

Even before the announcement, before Lionel Messi said the words that will change American football before MLS even could clear up No wait, no deal is signed yet, the gold mine has begun. It spread throughout the league and was given an unofficial name. “The Messi effect,” some team officials call it. On the first day of this wild new world, Inter Miami opponents sold tens of thousands of tickets and prices soared in Miami and beyond.

Messi is at least a month away from making his MLS debut. He will soon be traveling to Asia for two friendlies against Argentina in mid-June. Then he wants to rest. hell allegedly Holidays at home in Rosario, then in Europe. He will officially sign with Miami on or after July 5. He’ll need some time to acclimate and something of a mini preseason after a mini offseason. And only then will he play for Inter Miami, maybe on July 21 against Cruz Azul, maybe not until August.

Still, the Messi effect was simmering at DC United, which hosts Miami on July 8 – and according to a club source, more than 3,000 tickets were sold on Wednesday alone for a game Messi almost certainly won’t be playing.

Even the Philadelphia Union, which will host Miami on June 24, saw a “spike surge” in standing-only ticket sales, according to a club spokeswoman.

But when it comes to the games Messi will actually play, the rise has been even more pronounced, according to club spokesmen and ticket agents. By early evening, the Chicago Fire were on track to sell around 10,000 tickets for their Oct. 3 game against Miami by the end of the day — more in one day than they had previously sold since tickets first went on sale — although the price had gone up for the cheapest ticket at $250.

Charlotte FC also sold more than 10,000 tickets on Wednesday 21 October opens the upper bowl of Bank of America Stadium, which it shares with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. The cheapest examples were $125 each, and by 11pm ET the last pair had sold out; Only $182–$10,000 resale tickets were still available. (The starting price for Charlotte’s previous game against Toronto in the lower bowl: $26.)

Meanwhile, on the secondary market, prices soared to unprecedented levels. The New York Red Bulls, who normally charge $20 or $30 for cheap resales, quickly sold out against Miami on Aug. 26 — and StubHub lowest prices soared to almost $500, fees included.

For LAFC on September 3rd, the starting price is around $700.

Even in St. Louis, hosting Miami on July 15, ahead of Messi’s expected debut, the amount had risen above $200, heading toward $300. Some savvy ticketholders, having read of realistic debut dates, immediately considered cashing in on the likely misguided increase — and, in some cases, getting back the entire price they paid for the season tickets.

The clubs themselves also saw an opportunity to capitalize on Messi’s appeal. For example, Orlando City announced an updated ticketing system for its rivalry game on Sept. 24, including “priority access” for anyone who purchases new prorated season ticket packages or “four-game packages.”

Atlanta United, meanwhile, opted to open the upper bowl of the 71,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Stadium, costing rafter tickets $125 per person.

And as for Inter Miami?

Tickets for July 1 – before Messi’s arrival – remain available for $34.

Every game after that just shows an exciting message: “The sale date and time is in progress – please check back!”

Miami’s surrogate home, DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, holds just 18,000 people. Any reasonable observer would assume that executives have at least explored the possibility of hosting Messi’s games at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the 65,000-seat Miami Dolphins. Inter Miami spokespersons did not respond to email inquiries, and a Dolphins spokeswoman said she had “nothing to share at this time” but that some sort of unique ticketing plan will certainly be unveiled in the coming days and weeks.

Right now, the best bet for fans is a reseller like StubHub, where the cheapest pair of tickets for the July 21 game vs. Cruz Azul is $541 each – more than a pair would be for Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Messi’s debut, whenever and wherever, will likely be the most expensive ticket in MLS history.

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