Several factors might end up dampening the impact of Messi’s game debut, one of which is the abundance of discounted tickets on the resale market.
As Lionel Messi gets ready to make his first appearance in American soccer this Friday, South Florida businesses are preparing for the Messi Mania phenomenon. However, they are also considering the potential scenario where the immediate economic impact of his arrival might not be as strong as originally anticipated.
At first glance, Miami has shown a warm reception to the Argentinian soccer legend, adorning various parts of the city with Messi murals and graffiti in the team’s colors, black, white, and pink, symbolizing his new team, Inter Miami FC. Friday’s game has reached official sold-out status.
However, upon checking Ticketmaster on Friday, it was evident that numerous tickets were still available on the resale market for Lionel Messi’s anticipated debut with Inter Miami FC. These tickets were being sold at prices lower than $200, marking a decrease of approximately $50 from the previous day’s rates.
The team has disclosed that Messi is expected to play as a substitute in the evening match against Cruz Azul, a Mexico City-based team, which is part of the Leagues Cup tournament involving MLS and Liga MX teams.
Several factors, initially considered, might eventually diminish the event’s financial impact.
Messi’s Miami Debut, Challenges and Opportunities
The Friday game is coinciding with the peak of summer, which historically marks a slowdown in South Florida’s tourism season.
Adding to the challenge, Messi’s arrival aligns with an unprecedented heat wave that has led to Miami experiencing record-breaking heat index figures more than 20 times in the last 35 days, as reported by the Miami Herald.
According to data from CoStar, a commercial real estate data and analytics group, Miami hotel bookings show minimal changes compared to the same dates from last year.
While premium seats for Friday’s game reached staggering prices of nearly $16,500 on StubHub the day before, there are still a substantial number of available seats. Many of these tickets seem to be from resellers, indicating that current ticket holders are seeking to capitalize on the high demand generated by the soccer phenomenon.
Despite the long-anticipated expectation of Messi’s arrival in Miami, the actual confirmation of his signing, which was finalized last Saturday, caught Emi Guerra, co-founder of Breakwater Hospitality Group, off guard. This group owns several bars and restaurants in South Florida.
As of Thursday, Guerra chose not to disclose the reservation activity he was observing at his establishments ahead of Messi’s debut. However, he did mention that the interest shown on social media bodes well for the attendance. According to team co-owner David Beckham, Messi’s official presentation on Sunday accumulated a staggering 3.5 billion views in total, combining social media impressions, TV viewership, and online streaming.
An unexpected beneficiary of the Messi Mania phenomenon might be the city of Fort Lauderdale, situated about 40 minutes north of Miami in Broward County. This is because Inter Miami’s DRV PNK Stadium, where Messi will be playing, is located adjacent to the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.