Lionel Messi continues to break new frontiers, even at the age of 36. The Argentine legend is now the sportsperson with the highest-ever first-day jersey sales in history, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo’s first day back at Manchester United, Tom Brady with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and LeBron James with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Messi has not only sold the most jerseys in a single day in football history, but he is also bringing more eyes and attention to the MLS than ever before. Nearly everything in the MLS is up financially thanks to the addition of the world’s greatest-ever player and Miami co-owner David Beckham thinks that this is just the beginning for football in America.
Miami co-owner Jorge Mas has stated that he expects Messi’s arrival to double Inter Miami’s revenue, and his prediction appears to be on track. Messi’s jersey is so popular that stores are selling out in minutes, leading Adidas to open up a pop-up store in the center of Miami to make sure that any fan who wants a Messi jersey can get one. Online retailer Soccer.com said they have sold half a year’s worth of Messi jerseys in just one single day. In fact, orders are so in demand that the MLS has warned fans that their Messi jersey orders may not arrive until October, something that is unheard of in MLS history.
Tor Southard, who is a senior director at Adidas soccer, said, "Every single fan who wants a jersey should be able to get a jersey, whether it's online or at one of our stores. As the jerseys come in, we're shipping them out to fans."
Messi a financial boon for the entire MLS
Messi hasn’t just changed the history of Inter Miami, but also of the MLS as a whole and, potentially, football in the United States. Though the arrival of international superstars in America towards the end of their careers is nothing new, Pele did it first in the 80s, the arrival of Messi is something the league hasn’t quite seen before. Despite being 36, he is arguably still among the best players in the world and definitely at his financial appeal peak following his triumph at Qatar 2022.
Subscriptions to watch the MLS went up from 700 thousand to over a million following Messi’s debut against Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup. From July 17th to July 20th, Inter Miami were the highest-selling sports team on Fanatics, something that has never happened in US history.