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In Grabbing Lionel Messi, MLS Gets the Name It Needs For Worldwide Relevance

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Dec 18, 2022; Lusail, Qatar; Argentina forward Lionel Messi (10) celebrates with fans after winning the 2022 World Cup final against France at Lusail Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Soccer in the United States has often been viewed as a training ground for players striving to end up elsewhere. To use a baseball analogy, I’ve often referred to it as Triple-A soccer on a worldwide level. However in snagging arguably the biggest soccer name on the planet, a name that transcends the sports world, both Major League Soccer and it’s network Apple TV have gotten exactly what it needs to showcase it’s talents to the world and strive to prove it ISN’T just a training ground, but an actual league that deserves respect globally. But it doesn’t come cheap.

Per The Athletic, Major League Soccer and Apple is basically giving him a share of the revenue from Apple TV’s MLS Season pass and profit sharing from Adidas, whom MLS has had a deal with since the league began back in 1996 so the man is making is making bank on this deal. Messi also already owns a home in Miami which made the deal a bit easier.

On the pitch, Inter-Miami is suddenly a playoff threat despite being the literal worst team in the East. By adding the 500 goal scorer in Messi (not even counting international), the team suddenly has an offensive presence that, despite being 35 years old, can still bring an absolute goal scoring threat to a team averaging just one goal a game. Ticket sales are going to explode everywhere he goes with this deal. It reminds me a bit 20 years ago when Michael Jordan came out of retirement to play for the Wizards, who wasn’t at his Chicago Bulls level, but the very name itself was enough to explode ticket sales everywhere he went. Same thing I believe will happen here. For me, as someone who covers NYCFC, Miami has already played their road match in the Bronx so sadly I’ll miss out on this one. I’m legit bummed here. But for the rest of you MLS fans, if you can score a ticket, do it. This will be one of those, “I was there when” stories you can talk about forever.

In the end, it was a move that HAD to be done by Apple and MLS. They opened up the checkbook on this and landed someone that gives cred to the league and the Apple TV deal which as rumor had it, was concerned regarding the subscriber count. Let’s see what happens now.

About the author – Scott Churchson has been an actor in every way for the past 13 years, from BG to stand in to stunts and principal, a sports writer for the past 4 and is one of the people that created Stream Punk Entertainment. He’s married to a veterinarian, has a cat with three working legs, a mother-in-law who just moved in and is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.

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