Lionel Messi only just announced his commitment to Major League Soccer, but the effect of his decision is already being felt quite drastically by the U.S. sports business world.
Messi, who last played professionally for Paris Saint Germain FC of Ligue 1, committed to Inter Miami CF on Wednesday, June 9. His decision has already spiked ticket prices, with some going for $12,500 or more on ticketing platform Vivid Seats, according to a report by CNBC.
Messi’s popularity is obviously one of the biggest drivers to ticket prices, but sports business analyst Joe Pompliano told CNBC that one of the triggers to the price spike could also be the seat availability in the U.S. versus Europe.
“Those prices are jacking up a bit because there’s a fundamental imbalance in the supply equation that we’re seeing,” Pompliano said. “The typical MLS stadium only has 20,000 to 25,000 seats. When you look across Europe, in Barcelona specifically, they have 100,000 seats.”
The 2022 World Cup Golden Ball winner is also providing a huge boost to the social account of his team as Inter Miami has nearly seven million followers on Instagram as of this writing, more than four times the next most followed MLS team.
That’s likely driven by Messi’s gargantuan Instagram following of nearly 470 million, just behind fellow soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo as the most followed celebrity on the social media platform.