‘Messi Mania’ Returns: Ticket Prices Soar for Soccer Star’s Season Debut

Lionel Messi's highly anticipated debut in his first full Major League Soccer (MLS) season has sparked a frenzy among fans, driving ticket prices to unprecedented heights. Despite a challenging preseason for the soccer superstar, the fervor surrounding "Messi Mania" remains undiminished, as fans eagerly await his first game with Inter Miami.

According to TickPick, the average purchase price for tickets to MLS' season opener between Inter Miami and Real Salt Lake has skyrocketed to approximately $185 per seat. This marks a staggering 585% increase compared to Inter Miami's first home game last year, underscoring the immense demand to witness Messi's inaugural appearance in the MLS.

Even the cheapest tickets for this year's home opener, priced at $95, have surged in value by a staggering 1,257% compared to last season's prices. The astronomical rise in ticket prices reflects the unparalleled excitement surrounding Messi's arrival in the league.

Furthermore, secondary market prices for Inter Miami's entire season have seen a significant uptick, with tickets commanding an average of $167, a 70% increase from last year. The allure of witnessing Messi in action has not only elevated Inter Miami's ticket sales but has also impacted ticket prices across the league, with the average price of MLS games this season reaching $164, a 124% increase from the previous year.

StubHub, another secondary ticketing platform, has reported a sevenfold increase in MLS ticket sales compared to last year, with sales for all 29 MLS teams experiencing a surge. Inter Miami stands out as the most in-demand team, with sales skyrocketing by 150 times compared to the start of last season.

The widespread popularity of Messi has transcended borders, with StubHub recording ticket purchases from buyers spanning 44 countries, indicating his global appeal. Notably, Argentinians represent the second-largest group of buyers after North Americans, underscoring Messi's status as a national icon.

In addition to driving ticket sales, Messi's influence is evident in merchandise sales, with his redesigned jersey remaining a hot commodity. Despite not selling out like last year, sales of Messi's jersey continue to thrive, demonstrating sustained interest and enthusiasm surrounding the soccer superstar.

As MLS basks in the economic windfall generated by Messi's presence, the league faces both opportunities and challenges in capitalizing on his star power. With MLS Commissioner Don Garber emphasizing the importance of leveraging Messi's presence to fuel growth and competitiveness, the league is poised to navigate the dynamic landscape of professional soccer while cementing its position as a global powerhouse in the sport.