Inter Miami became an international attraction with the arrival of Lionel Messi and a galactic squad that the institution is taking advantage of to get a good performance on the field and off of it.
Their power off the pitch was shown on Tuesday at an event organised by a well-known cruise company in Miami.
The club have wasted no time in taking advantage of the enormous pull of the Argentinian and their other stars.
The event organised in Miami by the ‘Royal Caribbean’ cruise company served as the kick-off for a world tour in which they will cover nearly 40,000 kilometres in 23 days.
Gerardo Martino will have to strike a balance between meeting business commitments and preparing the team as well as possible.
Inter Miami’s commercial agreements
The entire Inter Miami squad took part in an event lasting more than three hours, with Messi taking centre stage to christen the ‘Icon of the Seas’ ship.
Jorge Mas, one of the owners of Inter Miami, highlighted the growth of the club in recent months.
“This dream started a year ago, not only to establish a football club in Miami, but to change the sport and elevate football in the biggest and most powerful country in the world, and I think we have achieved it,” he said.
Jason Liberty, president and CEO of the Royal Caribbean Group, linked the success of the two institutions, each in their own right: “One of our founders said they believed Miami was destined to be the cruise capital of the world, and he was right. Now I might add that it is the football capital of the world,” he said.
Global reach for a virtually new club
What Inter Miami has achieved in impact in just six years of existence is worthy of study, especially in the last six months since Messi arrived in South Florida.
Spaniard Xavi Asensi, one of the leading minds behind the project, is well aware of the club’s potential. “We are proud to embark on this journey that no other team in the league has experienced before and to serve our fans globally on this pre-season tour. We are delighted to continue to position ourselves to make history,” said the former Barcelona executive.
Among the partners benefiting most from Messi‘s arrival at Inter is Apple TV for the impact it has on the league and the broadcasting of its matches, doubling the number of subscribers since then.
Seth Bacon, executive vice president of MLS, was very clear in ‘USA Today’ when he said that “Messi joined and it just exploded”.
The impact is such that Apple did not hesitate to add five of the pink team’s seven pre-season friendlies to its official match offerings as well, with MLS delighted by the promotion of its product across the globe.
The challenge of a demanding season
Inter Miami will have four tournaments to play in 2024: CONCACAF Champions Cup, Leagues Cup, U.S. Open Cup and MLS itself. The best way to respond to the interest in the team is to do it on the pitch.
Criticism has centred on the heavy pre-season schedule, adding miles of flying, schedule changes and the presence at commercial events in different countries. The question is whether they will be physically prepared for the first official match on 21 February.
There are precedents with big clubs, such as Real Madrid under the Galacticos, who gave more priority to commercial matters than to preparation, and ended the season without achieving their sporting objectives.
In this year 2024 there is also a Copa America, a ‘distraction’ for many of the key names in Martino‘s squad such as Messi, Uruguay’s Luis Suarez and US internationals DeAndre Yedlin and Drake Callender.
Time will tell whether this media and commercial exposure affects the achievement of the goals. In the meantime, music and lights continue to accompany Inter Miami wherever they go.
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