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These are the cheapest places to see Lionel Messi play in the U.S.

Lionel Messi fever takes hold in U.S.
Lionel Messi fever takes hold in U.S. as he makes his MLS debut 02:56

Soccer star Lionel Messi, who led Argentina to its third World Cup victory last year has brought his talents — and a lot of fanfare — to Inter Miami FC and Major League Soccer (MLS).

Parties behind the landmark deal to recruit the Ballon d'Or winner to the U.S. are betting that he will help further popularize professional soccer and attract younger generations to the sport. The move already appears to be paying off, with young fans showing up to his first practice to try to catch a glimpse of the international superstar. 

"The Messi Effect is real!" Inter Miami owner Jorge Mas said of the increase in paid subscribers on social media platform X. "How exciting for a truly global fan base!" he added.

SOCCER: AUG 19 Leagues Cup Final - Nashville SC vs Inter Miami CF
Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi (10) crosses the ball ahead of Nashville SC defender Lukas MacNaughton (3) during the Leagues Cup Final match between Nashville SC and Inter Miami CF on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023 at GEODIS Park in Nashville. Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tickets to Messi's MLS debut for Inter Miami against Mexico's league, LIGA MX, were priced as high as $56,901, according to ticket retailer Vivid Seats.

"Messi Mania"

MLS Season Pass subscriptions have more than doubled on Apple TV, since Messi made the move from his home country of Argentina, according to a tweet from Inter Miami owner Jorge Mas, that Apple CEO Tim Cook retweeted. 

"For MLS, we could not be happier with how the partnership is going," Cook said on a recent Apple earnings call. "It's clearly in the early days, but we are beating our expectation in terms of subscribers, and the fact that Messi went to Inter Miami helped us out there a bit. And so we're very excited about it."

The excitement, dubbed "Messi Mania" has also driven up interest in live games at MLS stadiums.

Searches for phrases such as "where is Messi playing next" on Google Trends have soared in recent weeks, as have ticket prices, according to a study from Sixt, a car rental booking platform. 

Lionel Messi holds first press conference since joining Inter Miami CF 02:44

Most affordable tickets

The good news is, you can still see Messi play in the flesh for under $200, depending on where you live or how far you're willing to travel to see the soccer star.

Sixt looked at game ticket prices for Inter Miami FC's 2023 matchups on to find the lowest ticket price available for each game. 

The lowest-priced ticket to an Inter Miami game this season is $153, on Sept. 16 against Atlanta United in Atlanta, according to Sixt's analysis. Of course, there's no guarantee the 36-year-old team captain will be on the field. By contrast, the lowest cost ticket to Inter Miami's matchup against Los Angeles Football Club in LA on Sept. 3 is $637.

Here is the list of the most affordable places to see Lionel Messi play based on his team's schedule.

  1. Atlanta, Georgia — September 16 — $153
  2. Fort Lauderdale, Florida — August 30, September 9 — $162
  3. Charlotte, North Carolina — Oct 21 — $171
  4. Chicago — October 4 — $176
  5. Orlando, Florida — Sep 24 — $269
  6. Harrison, New Jersey — August 26 — $427
  7. Los Angeles — September 3 — $637
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