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"The Messi Effect": Historic Crowd of 72K+ Attend Sporting KC vs. Inter Miami at Arrowhead Stadium.

Roger Hampel

Inter Miami Arrowhead Stadium
Inter Miami Arrowhead Stadium

The phenomenon known as the "Messi Effect" was unmistakably showcased on the evening of April 13, 2024, as Lionel Messi's presence on the pitch helped draw an astounding crowd of 72,610 spectators to Arrowhead Stadium. This match between Sporting Kansas City and Inter Miami CF not only highlighted the star power of Messi but also set a new attendance record for Sporting KC and marked one of the largest standalone crowds in MLS history.

The Drawing Power of Lionel Messi

Messi's impact on the world of soccer extends far beyond his footwork and goal-scoring prowess. His ability to attract massive crowds was evidenced by the gathering at Arrowhead Stadium, which is typically home to the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs. The match's attendance figure was significant enough to become the fourth-largest standalone crowd in the history of Major League Soccer, demonstrating that Messi's appeal transcends traditional soccer boundaries.

Record-Breaking Attendance Figures

The match's turnout surpassed several previous records, including Sporting KC's own club attendance record of 52,424, set during a friendly against Manchester United in 2010. Moreover, it broke the Missouri soccer attendance record of 54,184, which was set at a Real Madrid vs. Inter Milan friendly in 2013. Inter Miami Arrowhead Stadium

Messi's On-Field Magic

On the field, Messi was more than just a crowd-puller; he was a game-changer. His first contribution was an assist to Diego Gómez, who equalized after Erik Thommy's opening goal for Sporting KC. Messi then took the spotlight with a stunning goal in the 51st minute, giving Inter Miami a 2-1 lead. The match concluded with a 3-2 victory for Inter Miami, thanks to a second-half winner from Luis Suárez, ending the team's five-game winless streak across all competitions.

A Catalyst for Growth in MLS

The presence of players like Lionel Messi in MLS serves not only to boost ticket sales but also to elevate the league's global profile. Matches like these showcase the league's growing ability to host high-caliber talent, thus attracting more fans and potentially more top-tier players to the league. This phenomenon is not just a testament to Messi's individual draw but also a reflection of the growing soccer culture in the United States, where matches are increasingly seen as must-attend events.

Source: MLS Media


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