The Messi effect: Inter Miami CF ticket prices, popularity soar after MLS announcement

Major League Soccer is about to get Messi.

The league is about to get one of the biggest stars in the history of soccer, as Lionel Messi decided he will sign with Inter Miami CF.

While the signing is not yet official, as the 2022 World Cup champion and record-setting seven-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner said he hasn't "closed it 100% percent," the Messi effect is already taking place in the U.S. People are already wanting to buy tickets to his debut match, and the club has drawn in millions of new fans.

Here is how Messi's signing is changing MLS:

Lionel Messi holds the World Cup trophy after Argentina's win over France at Lusail Stadium in Qatar on Dec. 18, 2022.

Inter Miami CF ticket prices soar

When Messi will make his Inter Miami CF debut is unknown, but people are already trying to secure their spot for any potential dates.

Wednesday morning, TickPick shared data on how Inter Miami CF ticket prices have soared since it was rumored earlier this week that Messi was signing with the team.

The predicted date for Messi's debut is July 21, when the club takes on Cruz Azul of LigaMX in Leagues Cup competition. Before the news, TickPick said the cheapest ticket sold was $29. As of Wednesday evening, the cheapest ticket available is $544.

"Soccer fans are extremely passionate," TicketSmarter CEO Jeff Goodman told USA TODAY Sports. "This is a huge acquisition for Inter Miami CF and really MLS as a whole. It elevates the league and the international interest in MLS across the globe."

Goodman added nearly 2,000 Inter Miami tickets were sold on TicketSmarter Wednesday, compared to under 50 tickets being sold on the platform over the weekend.

If you plan to see Messi in 2023, be expected to pay hundreds for a ticket, according to TicketSmarter the most expensive game to see Messi is Sept. 3, when Inter Miami CF goes to Southern California to play Los Angeles FC. Tickets for that game start at $697 on TicketSmarter.

Inter Miami CF plays at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, which has a capacity of 19,100.

Inter Miami CF popularity rises

People want to follow where Messi will be.

Inter Miami CF had roughly 1 million followers on Instagram before the rumors of Messi joining. After the news became official, the club now has more than 5.9 million followers.

Gannett has a partnership with TicketSmarter that provides readers with access to tickets through Gannett's websites, including USA 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Messi effect: Inter Miami CF's popularity, ticket prices soar