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The ‘Messi Effect’: Inter Miami could achieve $1.5bn valuation within the next year

Lionel Messi’s move to Miami could not only rejuvenate the worst team in MLS, but may also catapult them onto the league’s rich list.

The ‘Messi Effect’: Inter Miami valuation set to double

Inter Miami pulled off one of the greatest transfer coups in sport history when they convinced Lionel Messi to move to MLS. But the importance of Messi’s arrival is not restricted to the action on the pitch; the World Cup winner will have a transformative effect on the team’s commercial operations too.

On Tuesday Inter Miami co-owner Jorge Mas appeared on CNBC’s Halftime Report. His interview focused on the incoming superstar and the work that had gone in to securing his signature.

“When we got into the project of Inter Miami, we really did it wanting to be the premier platform for football in the United States,” Mas said.

The pursuit of Messi began in 2019 when me and David [Beckham] flew to Barcelona and met with his father and really started the process of convincing Lionel Messi to come to America.”

Watch Messi, Miami and the rest of the MLS via live stream on AppleTV

Now that Messi has arrived, Mas believes that the club and US soccer in general has a golden opportunity to benefit from what he called the “Messi Effect”.

“When does an athlete truly have the opportunity to change the sport? I think that’s the opportunity that Messi has ahead of himself,” Mas continued. “It’s the only thing anyone talks about.”

At last count Forbes valued Inter Miami at $600 million, making them the 11th most valuable team in MLS. On Tuesday Mas said that Inter Miami’s value could reach $1.3 billion - $1.5 billion in the next year alone.

Miami have bet big on Messi to improve both the on-field quality and off-field success of the team. But Mas insists that the arrival of a bona fide superstar should be good news for the league as a whole.

He said: “I think that it’s incumbent upon myself and my partners in Major League Soccer and fellow owners to seize the moment that we have ahead of us to hopefully elevate Major League Soccer over the course of the next three to five years to compete with the Premier League.”

Mas made reference to Pele in 1972 and David Beckham in 2007, two global stars who helped to usher in a new era of soccer in the United States. Messi now has the chance to do the same.