How Lionel Messi has become ‘like Tiger Woods, Usain Bolt & Michael Phelps’ for MLS as Inter Miami chief highlights unique opportunity for soccer in America

Lionel Messi has become “like Tiger Woods, Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps” for MLS, says Inter Miami’s chief business officer Xavier Asensi.


Argentine icon moved to America in 2023Made stunning impact on & off the fieldAttracted new audience to game in USA



The Argentine icon has attracted more attention to the domestic game in America following his stunning move to Florida in 2023. A mad scramble for tickets is sparked every time that he takes to the field, with A-list guests falling over themselves in a bid to catch a glimpse of the all-time great in action.



Messi is the biggest draw in MLS, with history being made on and off the field, and those pulling strings behind the scenes are determined to maximise a unique opportunity. Few figures in world sport boast the global appeal of Messi, with the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner forming part of an exclusive club.



Asensi has said in the LA Times of MLS enjoying the kind of boom that the BA once did when a certain Chicago Bulls legend captured the imagination of a new audience: “The arenas were not full pre-Michael Jordan. That has changed completely. It’s like Tiger Woods in golf or Usain Bolt in track and field, Michael Phelps in swimming. He’s the greatest of all time in the biggest sport worldwide in terms of viewership. It’s an opportunity we have to seize.”



Messi has already helped Inter Miami to one trophy and has four more in his sights for 2024. He is the most-decorated player in history, but still has relentless drive to be the best and will continue to amaze spectators in every corner of the planet.



Gideon Canice

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