Messi Effect: Miami fans upset with season ticket price hike

Fans of Lionel Messi's Inter Miami are up in arms after the Major League Soccer club doubled season ticket prices for next season, but the chance to watch the World Cup winner will still tempt many into forking out the cash.

The club, owned by Miami businessman Jorge Mas, brother Jose Mas and former England star David Beckham, emailed fans on Thursday with details of their ticket renewal prices.

This season's cheapest season ticket was $485, but the "Messi effect" means that has risen to $884 for a place behind the goal for the 17 home MLS games. That comes out at $52 per match.

Seats offering a broader view, close to the half-way line with access to a food and drink 'club' area, have risen from $3,600 to $7,650 and there are similar rises for the most expensive seats.

The cheapest season ticket to watch European and Premier League champions Manchester City is $469 with the most expensive costing $1,256, although hospitality deals are separate from season tickets.

At Messi's former club Barcelona, the lowest price for a season pass is $380.53 with the most costly $919.62.

Season ticket holders this season have been protected from the massive surge in single match ticket prices for Miami games prompted by Messi's arrival in July.

Indeed, some have cashed in by selling their season ticket access to individual games on the secondary ticket market for significant mark-ups.

Fans will be able to downgrade their seats to cheaper options if they wish, and a club source said that they have an extensive waiting list for season tickets.

The club are in just the fourth season of their existence and the annoyance is particularly acute among fans who spent years hoping to have an MLS team to support.

Ed Serrano, who was one of the leaders of the campaign to bring an MLS franchise to South Florida, spending years lobbying league officials and holding events to build support, said he knows of many fans who are thinking of not renewing.

"It's crazy. I expected them to go up, but maximum 50%. These guys are just thinking about making money and there is a lot of demand so they think they will get away with it," he told AFP. "Maybe they are looking for just the elite to watch the games and forget about other people. They are going to lose people like this if they continue with this mentality."

New stadium. The club plan to move from their temporary DRV PNK Stadium, in Fort Lauderdale in 2025, to a new site Miami Freedom Park, by Miami International Airport.

The $350 million stadium will be part of a reported $1 billion retail, entertainment, office and hotel development.

That switch to the new home is scheduled for the last year of Messi's $150 million deal with the club.

A club source said that the price rise reflects the changes on the field after bringing in Messi, along with former Spain internationals Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, as well as the broader investments being made.

But Serrano fears the cost increase may damage the building of a fan base for the future.

"One day Messi will be gone....they aren't thinking in the big picture. It is the hardcore that they are chasing away and they may never come back," he said.

Some fans who have already been prepared to commit large sums to secure seats are rethinking their approach for next season.

Jeffrey Skatoff of Palm Beach Gardens, who spent over $20,000 on seven season tickets for family and friends, said the renewal price he was quoted saw the total rise to $53,550.

"I liked having seven season tickets. I could give them away or bring casual fans to games, because the price was decent. Now I will probably go from seven season tickets down to two," he said.

Serrano, known among Inter fans as "Uncle Ed'"says that despite his strong objections, he will likely still fork out the money.

"I'm just so shocked by all this. I was contemplating boycotting but I love the team too much and fought so hard to get a team that I can't bring myself to do it".

8 comments about "Messi Effect: Miami fans upset with season ticket price hike".
  1. Michael Taddonio, September 30, 2023 at 7:36 a.m.

            What the article states isn't a surprise. I feel that part of the reason that Lionel Messi's becoming a member of Inter Miami is money. Also, it can be said that Inter Miami signed Messi to attract more fans. Well, more fans have come to the games.  Inter Miami's raising of season seat prices is true of all spectator sports. Spectator sports have become a means to make money, which isn't a surprise. I stopped going to professional sports events because of the high prices. I'm glad that I became a subscriber to the MLS season pass. It is a bargain. Now I am sure that there will be fewer complaints about the MLS Season Pass. In light of Inter Miami's raising of season ticket prices, perhaps more people will subscribe to the MLS Season Pass. Of course, being in the stands, in person, for a game is a good experience. Fans can make a statement by not getting season seats and give teams a clear message, which is to say that they aren't
    satisfied with the high season seat prices. Same for going to individual games. Charging a high price for parking a car and other things are factors in this matter.

  2. stewart hayes replied, September 30, 2023 at 6:31 p.m.

    Soon they will start offering virtual reality season tickets. 

  3. humble 1 replied, October 2, 2023 at noon

    Don't get bent around the axle on this.  One area MLS let's teams run is ticket sales.  This is good.  You don't like the price - you don't buy the season tickets.  I lived in St. Louis when Rams came to town and everyone queued to purchase Individual Seat Licenses.  Look where Rams are now.  Look at what was the brand new stadium in downtown St. Louis. Empty. St. Louis SC could have had it - covered stadium, downtown St. Louis.  No thanks.  I was season tick holder in my MLS town? But after one season i was like why?  Stadium never full - I can go to games I choose anyway - many secondary markets for tix.  So why?  I and family have been to almost all games this - year - the ones we choose - for what we consider great value.  Not season ticket holders.  Now if the stadium fills up - great - then we consider.  Long way to go on that front.  Lot of options to watch soccer.  HS, College D1 and D3, USL2, UPSL.  My player plays in USLA, UPSL, High School, 80 or games a year last 3 years - I see almost all of them.  When he is in college, next year I will watch most on ESPN+, I will continue to watch all these contexts, and maybe our local MLS team too, if they don't suck.  I will do it ad hoc.  Let the team set prices how they like, they are losing control of the market - there are so many contexts.  Don't let your season tix be like security blanket.  Lots of soccer to enjoy, more coming all the time.  Have it! 

  4. Michael Taddonio, September 30, 2023 at 7:38 a.m.

            One more comment. I have been a season ticket holder for sports. I know what being a season ticket holder is all about.

  5. Wallace Wade, September 30, 2023 at 9:12 a.m.

    Mortgage the Franchise for one player and this is what you get. Don't like it now? Go support Miami FC

  6. Michael Taddonio replied, September 30, 2023 at 11:01 a.m.

    Wallace:  I like what you said. I hope people will do what you stated.

  7. Billy Logan, September 30, 2023 at 1:26 p.m.

    Haves hurt the have-nots

  8. Jerome Hickey, October 3, 2023 at 11:33 a.m.

    It will turn the fan base from fans who want to see and cheer the team to a NBA franchise type atmosphere of a place to be seen and socialize, and oh, I can see Messi score on the replay on the big screen because I wasn't paying attention to the game. 

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications