The Messi effect: Inter Miami ticket prices jump 1,000% as star turns down $450m Saudi offer


Messi reportedly turned down a Saudi contract worth US$300 (AU$450 million) and rejected a return to his former club.
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Lionel Messi is reportedly joining Inter Miami, causing the MLS club’s ticket prices to skyrocket.

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Ticket prices for Inter Miami matches skyrocketed in the span of just a few hours Wednesday following reports that soccer legend Lionel Messi will leave Paris Saint-Germain for MLS—which he later confirmed—with the cheapest available tickets on the secondary market jumping more than 1,000% for Messi’s first matches with the club.

Key Takeaways
  • The cheapest ticket for Inter Miami’s Leagues Cup match against Mexico City’s Cruz Azul on July 21—reported to be Messi’s first match with the club—jumped from $29 to $459, according to TickPick, following reports Wednesday morning that the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will join David Beckham’s Inter Miami (Messi confirmed the reports in an interview with Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo).
  • The get-in price for Miami’s home match against the New York Red Bulls on August 26—reported to be Messi’s first MLS match—jumped from $30 to $512, according to TickPick.
  • Miami’s match against reigning MLS champion Los Angeles FC on September 3 also soared from $81 for the cheapest ticket to $599 in the immediate hours after multiple outlets reported the world’s second-highest-paid athlete is headed to Miami, following speculation he could rejoin his former club Barcelona or take a blockbuster deal to join the Saudi club Al-Hilal.
  • The cheapest to that match listed on TicketiQ is even higher, at $684—a 686% increase from the get-in price at the start of the season ($87)—while the get-in price to Miami’s away match against Charlotte FC jumped 748% over the same time (from $42 to $356).
  • Miami’s average home game ticket price also jumped from $152 at the start of the season to $935—a 515% increase, according to TicketiQ.
Big Number

14,522. That’s how many people searched for Inter Miami tickets on StubHub in the hour early Wednesday afternoon after it was reported Messi will join the MLS club. The cheapest available single ticket on StubHub for Miami’s Leagues Cup match against Cruz Azul costs a whopping $373, while a ticket on SeatGeek costs $334.

What We Don’t Know

How much Messi will get paid to join Inter Miami. Forbes estimates Messi earned $130 million last year, split evenly between on-field earnings and multiple lucrative contracts off the field, making him the second-highest-paid athlete in the world, only behind longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo.


News Peg

Messi confirmed Wednesday afternoon that he would join Inter Miami, saying he chose Miami “not because of money,” though he clarified the exact terms of the deal have not yet been completed. Messi told Mundo Deportivo if he had made his decision in the interest of money he would have taken an offer to play in Saudi Arabia “or elsewhere,” adding he wanted to return to Barcelona, but did not want to leave his future “in the hands of someone else,” according to a translation from independent journalist Fabrizio Romano.

Key Background

Speculation has been building for months around where Messi, a World Cup champion with Argentina and 10-time La Liga champion with Barcelona, would play at the end of the Ligue 1 season, his second with Paris Saint-Germain. Last month, Paris Saint-Germain issued Messi a two-week suspension after he took a promotional trip to Saudi Arabia without notifying the club—Messi later apologized for the suspension, saying he thought he had an off-day and couldn’t cancel his planned trip to Saudi Arabia, where he serves as an official “Tourism Ambassador.” Messi had also been rumored to rejoin Barcelona, where he played his first 17 seasons before joining PSG in 2021, and his father Jorge Messi—acting as his manager—met with team officials this week.

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