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Tickets to see Lionel Messi's MLS debut going for as much as $56,000

Lionel Messi prepares for MLS debut
Lionel Messi set to make MLS debut for Inter Miami this week 07:12

Soccer superstar Lionel Messi is expected to play his first game with Inter Miami this week – and prices for tickets to see the Major League Soccer club have skyrocketed. Tickets for Friday's Leagues Cup game are priced as high as $56,901 as of Monday afternoon, according to ticket retailer Vivid Seats. 

The cup is an annual competition between MLS and Mexico's league, LIGA MX. The cup announced on Saturday that Messi would make his MLS debut during Inter Miami's game against Cruz Azul. 

"I'm very excited to start this next step in my career with Inter Miami and in the United States," Messi said, according to the league. "This is a fantastic opportunity and together we will continue to build this beautiful project. The idea is to work together to achieve the objectives we set, and I'm very eager to start helping here in my new home."

One ticket in row one of section 112 near the goal is going for $56,901, tickets start at $260 each on the site. On Ticketmaster, the highest price for a ticket to the game is $10,000. 

The team's first regular season game with Messi will be a home game in Fort Lauderdale on Aug. 20 against Charlotte FC. Those tickets range between $220 and $9,356 on Vivid Seats. To put things in perspective, tickets for Charlotte FC's game against FC Dallas on July 21 range between $27 and $188 on the same site. 

Ticket prices for all of Inter Miami's upcoming games seem to have increased now that Messi has joined. Tickets for the club's game against Los Angeles FC in September range between $400 and $10,000 on Ticketmaster. Los Angeles FC's Aug. 20 game against the Colorado Rapids range between $35 and $555 on the site.

Messi helped his home country Argentina win the World Cup last year and spent much of his career playing for Barcelona, where he helped the team win the Union of European Football Association's championship four times. He also helped Argentina win a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. 

Messi is one of the most famous soccer players to leave a European team and join the American league. Before him, David Beckham signed with the LA Galaxy in 2007. Beckham now co-owns Messi's new team, Inter Miami. 

Messi's deal with the team gives him an ownership stake after he retires, according to the New York Times. His deal was also free of the limitations of the MLS' salary rules. MLS recently signed a deal with Apple to stream games, and Messi will share revenue from that and Adidas. 

Both brands already have a relationship with Messi, who makes $130 million annually, according to Forbes. That makes him the second-highest-paid athlete in the world, after Cristiano Ronaldo, who makes $136 million annually.

MLS had its first season in 1996 and has steadily grown in popularity and earnings. The average team valuation is now $579 million, an increase of 85% since 2019, according to Forbes. Los Angeles FC is the highest-valued team at $1 billion. 

Inter Miami is worth $600 million, slightly above average and making it No. 11 on the list. The addition of Messi, however, is expected to increase the value of the team. 

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