The ‘Messi Effect’ on Inter Miami CF: The Unique $150 Million MLS Deal

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The mere announcement of Lionel Messi’s move to Inter Miami CF set off a seismic wave that we’ve named the “Messi Effect.” Social media followers surged, ticket prices skyrocketed, and fixtures sold out almost instantly, all before the ink had even dried on his contract. As the world’s second-highest-paid athlete, Messi’s decision to join MLS sparked questions about the intricacies of formulating a deal that befits his immense popularity.

The Unconventional Contract Structure

The Inter Miami deal, valued at up to $150 million, encompasses his salary, signing bonus, and a stake in the team, showcasing the club’s confidence in Messi’s long-term impact. However, what makes this contract truly extraordinary is the inclusion of revenue-sharing agreements with major league partners like Apple, Adidas, and more.

Revenue Splits and Media Rights Negotiations

Source: AP

The revenue-sharing element of the deal has raised eyebrows within the sports industry. As part of the ongoing discussions, Messi stands to receive a cut from new subscribers to Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass streaming service. The exclusive worldwide rights held by Apple for every MLS game, coupled with Messi’s arrival, is expected to expand their international reach and garner attention for the streaming platform.

A similar profit-sharing arrangement is being explored with Adidas, the official supplier of the league and a long-time sponsor of the soccer superstar himself. The exact details of this collaboration remain undisclosed, and any agreement reached between Messi and Adidas would not directly involve MLS.

This unprecedented deal between MLS and Messi sets a new standard for how leagues and star athletes approach contract negotiations. The deal opens the door for other leagues and athletes to creatively explore revenue-sharing models, potentially benefiting both parties.

The Future of Live Sports Programming

Source: Sam Navarro/USA Today Sports

The involvement of technology giants like Apple and Amazon in live sports programming signals a paradigm shift in how fans consume sports content. The competitive streaming landscape, with increasing sports OTT subscription revenue, offers a diverse range of choices for sports enthusiasts.

The Real Winners

Undoubtedly, Lionel Messi emerges as a winner in this groundbreaking deal, solidifying his status as one of the most influential and sought-after athletes globally. Inter Miami CF, MLS, and their league partners also stand to gain significantly from this association, benefiting from heightened global attention and expanding fan bases.

While the Saudi Pro League may have missed the chance to sign the soccer legend, Messi retains a $25 million public partnership with the country, underscoring his worldwide appeal. 


There’s no doubt that Messi’s presence will forever alter the sporting landscape in the United States. As Inter Miami co-owner Jorge Mas aptly stated, “There will always be a before and after Messi when we talk about the sport in the United States.” At 36 years old, Lionel Messi remains a footballing marvel, effortlessly weaving through defenders with the grace and precision of a player in his prime. The stage is set for an extraordinary chapter in MLS history, and fans worldwide eagerly await the spectacle that Messi will bring to the American soccer stage.