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The Magic Messi Math

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

Lionel Messi will be joining Inter Miami for what will easily be a record salary. The previous record was $14 million in 2022 for Lorenzo Insigne and Messi's is projected to be roughly 4 times as much. This is also ignoring his sponsorships or any external salaries. That is a ridiculous amount. Only barely less than $59,7453,850, the combined salary of the three highest team salaries in MLS . Despite this outrageous salary, Messi will still make Inter Miami a lot of money and benefit the league as a whole.

Miami's Investment


From Miami's perspective, Messi is a great investment. He is rumored to cost them around 150 million dollars over two and a half years including equity. But in ticket prices for the rest of the season alone, Inter Miami will make $42,000,000 conservatively. Then, they will also make money from shirt sales. This could easily be around 20-30 million dollars considering that PSG sold over a million jerseys in the first year Messi joined the club and Inter Miami's pink jerseys are $164.99 authentic or $119.99 replica with a player name on them (teams only get a 10-15% cut of jersey sales). Then if you look at sponsors Messi purportedly secured PSG 10 sponsors at an average of $8.6 million. This means that if Miami can secure the same kind of sponsorships Messi brought to PSG they could bring in close to 90 million dollars. This means that between sponsorships, jersey sales, and tickets Inter Miami could look to make back around the 150 million dollars this year from the Messi signing. That is a pretty good return on their investment because that is only half a year and Miami will have him for two and a half years.

Benefitting All of MLS


Messi doesn't just benefit Miami, though. All of MLS is helped by Messi's signing. This is because of far more publicity coming to the league. Going back to ticket prices, the price surge follows Messi to away games with tickets to the Atlanta United vs. Inter Miami game, for instance, now costing a minimum of $174 to be in the third tier. Then seats lower down are even more expensive with a 200-level seat being at least $308 and a 100-level seat being a minimum of $202. This means that 71,000 fans minus 35,000 season tickets equals 36,000 seats. Then assume some have already been bought, so there will be conservatively 20,000 seats for sale. Most will be in the third tier so if an average price for a ticket is $200 then a conservative estimate for Atlanta United's profit from ticket sales for the one game is 4 million dollars. While this is nice, what is more important is the exposure of MLS to the world as millions of new fans will now start following MLS. This means more Apple TV MLS passes and more journalism and news following the league. The deal will really help to elevate MLS to, hopefully, being the sixth major league along with the European top five leagues.

How Much Does Messi Make?

FRANCK FIFE/AFP/AFP via Getty Images

This isn't Messi's mission to help MLS, though. He is coming because he can make a lot of money. In addition to the money from his Inter Miami salary, he is also expected to sign lucrative sponsorship deals with Adidas and Apple TV. This makes sense for all interested parties because Apple TV would like nothing more than to have Messi play in the league they have exclusive rights to for the next 10 years. This is why Messi is reported to be negotiating directly with the TV broadcaster for a share of the revenue that he will be generating. In addition, Messi also has a lifetime sponsorship with Adidas and is also supposedly negotiating with them over a major deal to earn from their revenue. This is because his major alternative to Miami was Al-Hilal. This would be bad for Adidas because Nike is their jersey manufacturer. This means that the millions of dollars made from Messi's jersey sales alone would no longer be going to Adidas. So it is worth it for them to instead provide incentives for him to sign with Inter Miami, whose jersey they do manufacture.

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