Messi Effect Transforms MLS: From Short-Term Thrill to Long-Term Game Changer for U.S. Soccer


The “Messi effect” on Major League Soccer (MLS) has been nothing short of revolutionary, transforming not just the fortunes of Inter Miami CF but reshaping the league’s entire landscape. With Lionel Messi leading the charge, Inter Miami’s valuation has skyrocketed to over a billion dollars, marking an extraordinary leap in franchise value and spotlighting the immense impact of a single player’s influence. This seismic shift has not only doubled ticket prices and necessitated stadium expansions but also significantly increased MLS season pass subscriptions on Apple TV. Messi’s influence extends far beyond the financial, embedding MLS into the fabric of American culture, elevating the league’s status, and even outshining global celebrities in media engagement.

As we witness this remarkable growth, how sustainable is the “Messi effect” for the future of MLS and soccer in America?

Suite Talk’s host, Patrick Rishe, the Sports Business Program Director for Washington University in St. Louis, is an expert in the business of sports. He offers valuable insights into the phenomenon’s sustainability and its potential to shape the sport’s trajectory in the U.S.

“The impact of Lionel Messi from franchise value on the club revenue of the team and just in the general interest and impact societally of soccer in this country and the halo effect he’s created for other teams and their awareness is truly unparalleled, perhaps across any sport that we’ve ever seen in North America,” Rishe said.

Article written by Sonia Gossai.

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