Inter Miami Messi jersey: how many shirts will Lionel Messi sell in MLS?
The World Cup winner has touched down in Miami and fans are eager to capture a piece of the Messi magic for themselves.
Lionel Messi was officially unveiled as an Inter Miami player on Sunday night, presented to the fans in a packed DRV PNK Stadium and with the eyes of the world watching on.
The enduring image from last weekend’s festivities was of Messi and the Inter Miami owners - David Beckham, Jorge Mas, Jose Mas - holding the team jersey with the iconic ‘Messi 10′ on the back.
It was the crowning moment of a years-long project to lure the game’s most celebrated player to MLS. At 36 there may only be a few year of Messi magic to come, but fans around the world are eager to own a piece of the moment.
On Monday Inter Miami shirts baring the name ‘Messi’ went on sale in the MLS Store and supporters have flooded to buy the soon-to-be collectors’ item. Messi is the biggest signing in the history of MLS and demand for his iconic jersey is expected to smash all previous records.
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Messi brought huge commercial boost for PSG
The Argentine arrives from Paris Saint-Germain, with whom he spent two years after the expiration of his Barcelona contract in 2021. PSG secured two Ligue 1 titles in that time but they failed to make the next step in continental competition.
However one area in which Messi was an unqualified success was in commercial terms. After his first season at Parc des Princes it was reported that Messi had accounted for 60% of the club’s shirt sales, bringing about a huge rise in revenue.
French publication L’Equipe reported that the Argentine’s arrival boosted merchandising revenue by 40%. Last summer Marc Armstrong, PSG’s chief partnership’s officer, said that demand for the club’s shirts had risen by “30 to 40%” since signing Messi.
At the time Armstrong said: “We can’t meet the demand for Messi shirts. We have reached the ceiling.”
“Nobody can meet that demand. We are already selling a lot of jerseys, maybe more than any other team in the world for one player, and that puts us at the next level”
Messi expected to smash MLS record for jersey sales
In May MLS released a list of the 25 highest-selling jerseys of the 2023 season to date. Topping the chart was LAFC’s Carlos Vela, an iconic player with huge name recognition off the back of an MLS Cup-winning season. His compatriot Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez was in fourth place, while Messi’s new teammate Josef Martinez placed sixth.
But Messi’s arrival changes everything and the Argentine is expected to break all previous records for jersey sales in American soccer. During his time in MLS Beckham was by far the most marketable name in the league and he sold around 300,000 shirts per season across his five-year stint.
Not only does Messi’s popularity exceed that of even David Beckham, but soccer has grown significantly in the US in the proceeding decade.
Inter Miami owner Jorge Mas believes that Messi’s influence can boost the marketability of the league as a whole and transform the perception of MLS globally.
“This is the biggest commercial market on the planet,” he said. “Messi can make MLS one of the top three leagues in the world.”
“Messi will take it to another level, he is coming here excited to leave his mark and he can do so with even more than just football”