BY Michael Light / On July 21, 2023

Miami is no stranger to being in the limelight. This also is not the first time we’ve bathed in the glow of the limelight as we welcome an athletic prodigy. In 2004, we welcomed Shaq to the Miami Heat, in 2010 it was Lebron James “taking his talents. to South Beach” and ushering in the era of the Big 3 for the Miami Heat. These are very exciting times! In addition to the celebrations, and sports wins and boasting to the rest of the world about our athletic prowess as a city, there is also a positive effect on the local economy.

This time, the celebration is a bit different. Shaq, Lebron, and Bosh were all amazing boons for Miami. And while the NBA is wildly popular in the United States, other countries haven’t quite caught on at the same level. This time it is Messi, an international superstar in an international sport, and arguably the GOAT at soccer football. So what can we expect from the “Messi Effect?”

Ticket Sales

David Beckham has dedicated his career to bringing an MLS team to Miami for the last ten years. Through so much adversity and doubt, his faith in the mission has gone undeterred. He has been successful in forming the Inter Miami CF in 2018, with games beginning in 2020.

Before this monumental addition, you could venture up to DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale and watch the home team play for as little as $30. Although they usually didn’t win, you have to recognize that it takes a new club a bit of time to get their feet wet, so to speak. It also adds fuel to Miami’s fire to now have such a star player on the roster, as we are incredibly competitive and love to see the home team win.

For the Messi opener tonight versus Mexico’s Villa Azul, tickets are now starting at $265 per person, and venturing up to the $110,000-range.  While the price tag will likely level off below the $110,000 price tag for the most expensive seats, the increase in both volume and cost are expected to remain remarkably strong throughout Messi’s tenure with the club.

Tourism and Merchandise

Aligning with the increased cost of tickets to Messi’s Inter Miami matches, the economic impact on the city as a whole will benefit.

When large sports events occur in any city, there is a spike in tourism. There is an increase in the amount of money spent in restaurants and recreational outlets, local goods and services as well as sales for local merchandise. Additional infrastructure is also usually needed in order to accommodate the boon of visitors who descend upon the host city for the event. This is evidenced already in the recent renovation of DRV PNK Stadium as well as Freedom Park Stadium, the $1 billion future home of the club that is currently beginning construction. The anticipated delivery date is 2025.

These factors not only generate tax revenue, but also new jobs for the local residents, who then increase their spending habits, creating a full-circle economic strengthening effect. The economic strengthening phenomenon is evident in the competition between cities and politicians when jockeying for hosting privileges of things like the Super Bowl, Copa America, Formula 1, The Olympics and the World Cup.

Miami is very fortunate to have the formula down, and easily is able to garner such events with relative ease, enjoying regular hosting privileges for the Super Bowl and Formula 1 as well as the recent Copa America.  upcoming World Cup feathers in our cap. Last year’s debut of Miami Race Week drew $350 million into the local economy in one week alone.

With a worldwide superstar Messi as a regular spectacle on the pitch, these benefits will be more consistent than one large week before returning to normal. This will become the new normal at least until his contract ends (and is hopefully renewed).

Real Estate

With Florida’s favorable tax climate, there are many who would prefer to own a piece of Miami that they can use when they wish and then rent out when they are home. Bringing in a sports superhero such as Messi increases this demand. We saw it when Lebron joined the Miami Heat in 2010 as well as when Shaq hung his hat here in 2004. People recognize the need for additional rental opportunities and want to be part of both the visiting and the earning aspect of the spectacle.

The thing that is different this time is that with Lebron and Shaq, they each had an immense fanfare with people from the United States. Messi however has a more international and global appeal, as football is more popular in these areas than in the US. This is set to reignite the international appeal of Miami, and bring back the foreign investors that may have waned a bit in recent years.

We have already seen an increase in web traffic and phone calls from people in various countries in South America, and with our position in the Knight Frank Global Connection, we are very happy to see so many new faces interested in taking part in Miami’s continued evolution and revitalization. The Knight Frank Global Connection is an invitation-only network of brokers from around the world whose mission it is to make foreign real estate purchases attainable to the global elite. We are very proud to have the opportunity to represent Miami within this network.

Whether Messi and the Inter Miami win tonight or not, this is a large win for the club, for the MLS, for the city of Miami and South Florida as a whole.

“Today a new journey and a new chapter starts. There will always be a before and after Lionel Messi,” Inter Miami FC Co-Owner Jorge Mas told the crowd at Messi’s welcome event on Sunday. “We are recipients of a legacy of the greatest player in the world that started at Newell’s Old Boys. Went to Barcelona and ended at PSG, but today it sits in the hands of Inter Miami and its fans. This is our moment to change the football landscape in this country.”


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