Ticket prices have gone up, T-shirts have gone up from stores: the Messi effect in Miami

Ticket prices have gone up, T-shirts have gone up from stores: the Messi effect in Miami

After Argentine world champion Lionel Messi stunned the city of Miami just over a week ago by announcing that he would soon be playing for the local professional club, Mad About Soccer has suddenly had many customers.

“Messi’s shirts were gone within two days,” says salesman Nicholas Romero of the soccer specialist store. “He doesn’t have an official Inter Miami number yet, he’ll probably come in a few weeks. But we said to our customers: Buy it, they’ll sell. Then you can come back later, and we’ll print that number on him.”

$400 for a ticket

Romero himself is also excited about Messi’s arrival. “Yes, he is the best soccer player in history. Anyone who knows the game can attest to that. I will definitely see him on the field.” Although it will not be right away. “Ticket prices for the first matches with him have now gone up exponentially, from $30 to $400. I get it, because he’s Messi. But it’s annoying for people who always went to games and couldn’t afford them anymore.”

As a serious fanatic, Romero often went to Inter Miami matches. But to say that the only professional club in the city is very popular with the population even now, that is not the case.

Loyal to clubs from countries of origin

Miami, compared to other American cities, is a football crazy city. There are fields everywhere where people play. A large portion of the population is made up of immigrants from Latin America, where the sport is much more lively than in the United States. But when it comes to support, they are often more loyal to clubs than to their home countries.

Like Iran Espinosa, who watches from the sidelines as Morgan Levy blesses his son to work up a sweat on a soccer field. He emigrated from Nicaragua twenty years ago and still faithfully follows the results of Real Madriz, the club from his home region. He also visited a friendly match in Miami to watch Messi play. But never the league game at Inter Miami. Club results aren’t a topic at work during lunch, he says, either.

Perhaps that will change with the arrival of Messi. “I definitely plan to check it out. If prices come down a little bit.”

Founded by David Beckham

What also doesn’t help is that Inter Miami is a relatively new club. It was founded five years ago, among others, by David Beckham, an English international star of an earlier generation who also started playing football in the United States. Since 2020, the club plays in the Eastern Division of Major League Soccer (MLS). There is a lot of money in the club, but no real results have been achieved yet. Inter Miami has finished three times in the middle bracket. Now, in the middle of the season, the club is last.

The new stadium won’t be ready until 2025. Dutch goalkeeper Nick Marsmann, who also plays for Inter Miami, caused a local media storm last week by publicly asking if the club was ready for Messi. According to him, the security would leave something to be desired for a star of this caliber.

Fallen due to the Florida lifestyle

Reportedly, sporting considerations were secondary to Messi anyway. In Saudi Arabia, with which he was previously associated, he could also earn a lot of money, although in Miami he would certainly not be poorer. He would especially fall into the South Florida lifestyle, where he already owns a country home and hopes to lead a more or less normal family life.

But Nicholas Romero isn’t afraid his team will be saddled with an overpaid and not so motivated star. Messi is 35 years old. “No matter how he plays, he brings a lot just to his name. He won the World Cup last year. Even if he is no longer at his best, he is still good.”

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