Sports Corner: Messi’s deal with Miami

Worldwide soccer star Lionel Messi announced that he would sign a monumental deal worth upwards of $150 million with Inter Miami CF on June 7.

On July 21, Messi made his highly anticipated debut against Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup, a tournament played with all the clubs from Major League Soccer and Liga Mexico. Messi went on to win the Leagues Cup, scoring 10 times, giving Inter Miami their first-ever trophy.

To attract the attention of the global superstar, Inter Miami had to offer Messi an extremely appealing deal, making him the highest paid player in MLS history with a close to $60 million annual salary.

According to NBC Sports, Messi’s contract also includes shared profits with Apple and Adidas, as well as an option to purchase a minority stake with his new club.

Messi’s influence on the MLS has stretched far beyond his abilities on the pitch. For instance, his arrival to the league has had a huge impact on jersey sales. According to ESPN, Inter Miami has sold the most merchandise of any team in the MLS in the few months since Messi announced his signing. Inter Miami’s ticket prices have also increased by over 1,700% compared to the previous season, according to CNBC.

While people may have scrutinized Messi’s decision to play in the MLS, his influence on the league will have long-term impacts on American soccer. When looking at the big sports leagues in the United States, many people consider the MLS to be subpar due to its lackluster ability to acquire worldwide stars. MLS’s rapid rise in popularity, shown in the rise of its average ticket prices and the doubling of MLS Apple TV subscriptions since Messi’s announcement on June 7, has been no coincidence. The MLS needs players like Messi in order to be on par with the nation’s other, more popular sports leagues.

For soccer fans worldwide and especially throughout the United States, Messi’s arrival in the MLS is extremely exciting. His arrival to the league will undoubtedly change the way that other countries view the level of soccer in the United States. This is incredibly important given that the 2026 World Cup, which will be played across North America, will establish the United States as a country that has the fanbase and infrastructure to be comparable to the more popular leagues in Europe. The first step in heightening U.S. soccer is Messi’s arrival. His profound impact on the world of soccer in the U.S. is a feat that only the GOAT could achieve.

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