The first match of the Argentine star, Lionel Messi, with his new team, Inter Miami, set a record as the most watched match on television, with 12.5 million views, to be the highest in the history of the United States of America.
The “substitute” Messi led his team, Inter Miami, to a 2-1 victory, by scoring a fatal goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time from a direct free kick.
The price of match tickets also set another record for this competition, as the cheapest ticket to attend Messi’s first matches was sold at $160, while the highest was $8,800.
Despite Americans’ general preference for sports like American football or NBA basketball, this statistic demonstrates the surprising popularity of football among the masses.
LIONEL ANDRÉS MESSI IS NOT HUMAN. pic.twitter.com/2mBDI41mLy— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 22, 2023
And the Argentine “TC Sports” channel described, in a special report on its website, yesterday, Sunday, that this number of views came as a result of the “Messi effect,” adding that despite the presence of only 21,000 fans in the stands, the first appearance of the Argentine captain, wearing the pink shirt No. 10, against the Mexican team, became the most watched football match ever in the country.
And the channel added, “According to specialized sources, Messi’s appearance attracted 12.5 million viewers, not counting the fans who watched him on their computers, mobile phones, or tablets through unofficial links.”
And channel added, “The last Inter Miami match surpassed two of the most popular events in the United States, which are the 2022 NBA Final between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics, as it was watched by 12.4 million, while the 2023 Super Bowl final between Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles was watched by 10.8 million.”
Sports accounts interacted with the great impact that Messi had on football in the United States. Argentine sports journalist Pablo Gellart talked about the impact of the Bulga by comparing the viewership in the American football match and the 2022 NBA Finals, indicating that this phenomenon has great implications for the future of football in the United States.
The Inter Miami and Cruz Azul match was attended by international stars who gathered in the stands for the first time in a football match to watch Messi in his first appearance with Miami, and among the most prominent attendees were former English star David Beckham, American basketball legend LeBron James and American tennis legend Serena Williams, as well as TV star Kim Kardashian, who took pictures from their mobile phones the moment Messi entered the stadium.