October 17 – Inter Miami are poised to make the most of their MLS playoff absence, announcing a two-game tour of China to flex their Messi muscles and gain exposure in the Asian region next month.
The Argentine will return to the nation where he won Olympic gold in 2008 and will play a key role in raising Asian awareness and marketing of the MLS and his new club side’s brands, with China already bubbling with excitement at the prospect of welcoming one of the greatest players of all time.
The recently-appointed Leagues Cup champions will play two friendly matches against Chinese Super League opponents, facing Qingdao Hainiu on November 5 and Chengdu Rongcheng on November 8.
Both matches will be hosted in stadiums with capacities ranging from 50,000 to 60,000 fans and are expected to be sell-outs.
Messi will be the star attraction alongside his superstar teammates Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba. He and Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham have huge followings in China.
The tour was announced after rumours that Barcelona had reportedly expressed an interest in taking Messi back to Catalunya on loan in January.
Details about television broadcast and ticket sales for the tour have not been disclosed. However, for Messi’s June event in Beijing, tickets ranged from $80 to approximately $670 at face value. If the pricing structure remains consistent for this tour, the two matches alone could potentially generate ticket revenues exceeding $20 million.
“This will be a great opportunity to continue building on our 2023 campaign, in which we achieved our first-ever trophy,” Inter Miami sporting director and chief soccer officer Chris Henderson said in a release distributed by the team.
“We will take this as an opportunity to begin our preparations for 2024, as we look to build on last season and find more success moving forward.”
Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at firstname.lastname@example.org