Inter Miami has clinched the prestigious Deal of the Year award for signing Lionel Messi as a free agent from Paris Saint-Germain in 2023, reported by GOAL. This significant move has catapulted the club to new heights, both on and off the field.

Almost a year since Messi joined Inter Miami, the team has experienced an extraordinary transformation. The club has achieved significant milestones in both sporting accomplishments and commercial success. At the 2024 Sports Business Journal Awards in New York, Inter Miami outshined prominent teams like the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, MLB’s Texas Rangers, NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, and the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves. Not only did Inter Miami win Team of the Year, but Messi’s signing was also celebrated as the Deal of the Year.

Messi’s move to Inter Miami followed shortly after leading Argentina to a historic World Cup victory. This transfer quickly became one of the most high-profile in football history. Messi made an immediate impact, guiding a previously struggling Inter Miami team to victory in the Leagues Cup just weeks after his debut. His influence on the field has been transformative, but his presence has also significantly impacted the club’s commercial appeal.

Messi’s acquisition has had a profound effect on both Inter Miami and Major League Soccer (MLS). His arrival has drawn global attention to the league, elevating soccer’s profile in the United States. Inter Miami became the most googled sports team in 2023, and Messi’s jersey topped the sales charts in MLS. The club’s social media presence has also exploded, with Inter Miami’s Instagram account becoming the third most followed sports team account in the United States, behind only the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers.

Lionel Messi’s impact

Inter Miami CF forward Lionel Messi (10) looks on in the second half against Nashville SC at Chase Stadium
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Messi’s signing has been hailed as a game-changer by MLS commissioner Don Garber, who remarked, “The signing of Leo Messi was a game-changer, raising the profile of not just the club but of MLS and the entire sport in North America. Jorge Mas, Jose Mas, and David Beckham believed in MLS and made an unprecedented investment in the greatest player to ever play the beautiful game.”

Inter Miami’s Deal of the Year award is even more impressive when considering the competition they faced. They outshined notable deals such as Josh Harris & Co’s acquisition of the NFL’s Washington Commanders, the merger of UFC and WWE into TKO Group Holdings, and significant media rights agreements signed by NASCAR, the NCAA, and the National Women’s Soccer League.

Messi continues to excel for Inter Miami, having scored 12 goals and provided 11 assists in just 13 appearances across various competitions this season. However, he is expected to sit out the next game against Vancouver, much to the disappointment of Canadian fans. His ongoing contributions will be crucial as Inter Miami aims to build on their recent success and continue making waves in MLS.

The signing of Lionel Messi has undeniably transformed Inter Miami, bringing unprecedented success and attention to the club and MLS. The Deal of the Year award is a testament to the monumental impact Messi has had since his arrival. As Messi continues to perform at an elite level, the future looks bright for Inter Miami, both on the field and in the broader world of sports business.

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