To witness Lionel Messi make his US debut might require a payday as big as his.
Tickets for his expected first match on Friday for Inter Miami in the Leagues Cup are selling for as much as Ksh.15.6 million ($110,000), according to a search on ticket reselling website Vivid Seats. That’s one of the most expensive ticket prices ever recorded for a MLS team.
Prices for some seats soared after the soccer superstar officially signed with the Major League Soccer team on Saturday in a deal reported to be worth between $50 to $60 million per year.
Still, there are much cheaper options available for Friday’s game. The average price is $487 (Ksh.69,000), and some fans are travelling nearly 700 miles (1126 kilometres) to see the match against Mexican team Cruz Azul, a Vivid Seats spokesperson said. Tickets to last year’s League Cup match between Inter Miami and FC Barcelona cost about half of that.
Prices for Messi’s MLS debut on August 20 against Charlotte are averaging $288, according to Vivid Seats, surging nearly 900% since early June when speculation began that Messi was coming to the US. Ticket prices overall for Inter Miami, currently dead last in the standings, have also jumped about 700% since then.
Messi, 36, is one of the most decorated athletes ever, winning the prestigious Ballon d’Or award seven times and was part of the World Cup-winning Argentinian side last year. His deal includes an option for part-ownership of the club and a cut of the revenue from new subscribers to Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass streaming service, according to multiple reports.
In an unveiling event Sunday, Messi said he’s “very excited” to be in Miami. “I come here with the same desire to compete, desire to win and help the club to continue to grow,” he told a packed stadium.
“Messi mania” extends beyond the field, too.
Hard Rock Cafe unveiled last week the “Messi Chicken Sandwich,” which is a crispy Milanese-style fried chicken breast that’s topped with melted provolone. The sandwich is now on sale at its hotels and restaurants.