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Lionel Messi Joins MLS In Surprise Move: Here's How Apple Could Have Played Into Decision To Join David Beckham's Team

Published Jun 07, 2023 19:59 Updated Jun 07, 2023 21:10
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Lionel Messi Joins MLS In Surprise Move: Here's How Apple Could Have Played Into Decision To Join David Beckham's Team

Benzinga - One of the greatest football (soccer) players of all time has decided where to play next season. Here’s a look at the news on Lionel Messi and his decision.

What Happened: Messi is set to join Inter Miami, a team in Major League Soccer, after rumors previously linked him to returning to FC Barcelona or joining Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia.

Miami has been interested in Messi for years, with talk of a move linked to the MLS team gaining steam in November 2022.

Messi rejected a deal with Saudi Arabian team Al-Hilal that would have paid him more than Inter Miami, according to the BBC.

A World Cub winner and seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, Messi is considered one of the best soccer players of all time and one of the current best in the world.

Messi owns a home in Miami, a factor that may have played into his decision to join the MLS team.

Inter Miami is owned by soccer legend David Beckham, who also previously made a big move from Europe to the United States. Messi’s friendship with Beckham could have been another factor in the soccer player’s decision.

“Who knows, maybe in a few years you can give me a ring,” Messi shared on social media in 2018 when the Miami expansion team was announced by Beckham.

The Athletic reported that Messi’s deal could also include an option to purchase a percentage of an MLS team after he is done playing the league. Beckham received a similar deal when he played in the MLS, which led to him later buying the expansion Miami team.

Apple And Adidas Rumored Involvement: Another key factor that likely played into Messi’s decision was the involvement of Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL).

“The league has gotten very creative with all of this,” a MLS stakeholder said on Tuesday morning, as reported by The Athletic. “Everything is on the table.”

Among the items that were discussed: Apple offering Messi a share of the revenue from new subscribers that sign up for the MLS Season Pass, a streaming package offered on AppleTV+.

“Both sides view Messi’s potential involvement in Major League Soccer as a boon,” The Athletic wrote.

Apple signed a 10-year media rights deal with the MLS valued at a reported $2.5 billion. The deal with Apple kicked off with the 2023-2024 season and is among the biggest bets Apple has placed on its streaming platform.

“In a historic first for sports, fans can stream every single MLS match through the Apple TV app, without any local blackouts or restrictions,” Apple said.

Apple charges $6.99 per month for AppleTV+, which includes access to several MLS games. The MLS season pass and other add-ons are offered to fans to get access to more deals. With Messi playing in the MLS, the technology and streaming company could get a big boost in subscribers.

Apple announced on Tuesday that a four-part docuseries coming to AppleTV+ will focus on the five World Cup appearances Messi has made for Argentina, including the 2022 tournament that Messi and his team won.

Apparel and footwear company Adidas (OTC: ADDYY) could also be involved in Messi’s move to MLS. Adidas is offering a rumored profit-sharing deal with Messi, including a cut of increased profits for the shoe company based on his playing in the MLS.

Adidas signed a lifetime deal with Messi in 2017 after luring him away from rival Nike Inc (NYSE: NKE) in 2006. Adidas has been a partner with the MLS since the league began in 1996. Adidas has deals with all 29 MLS teams for kits and also designs the official match ball and is the footwear sponsor for the league. The company renewed with MLS through 2030 in a new six-year, $830-million deal signed in 2023.

Related Link: 5 Things You Might Not Know About Lionel Messi

Messi's Soccer Impact: While a member of PSG, Messi helped the team win the Ligue 1 title in both seasons. The team faced early exits in the Champions League round of 16. While at PSG, Messi has scored 32 goals in 75 games. In the most recent season, Messi had 16 goals and 16 assists in Ligue 1 contests.

Prior to his time at PSG, Messi spent multiple seasons at Barcelona before leaving over financial problems. Messi is the team’s all-time goal scorer with 672 goals. Messi helped Barcelona win 10 La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and multiple other trophies during his time at the Spanish club.

Inter Miami ranks last in the Eastern Conference of the MLS with 5 wins and 11 losses in its 16 matches. The team could use additional goal scoring power, with 15 total goals scored in 16 games.

The Miami MLS team parted ways with previous coach Phil Neville last week and has been linked with adding Gerardo Martino, a name familiar to Messi. Martino was previously the coach of Argentina from 2014 to 2016, when the team made it to back-to-back Copa America finals. Martino was also Messi's manager at Barcelona during the 2013-2014 season.

Inter Miami finished sixth in the Eastern Conference in the 2022 season with a record of 14-6-14.

Related Link: Sorare Inks 4 Year Deal With English Premier League, What Sports And NFT Fans Should Know

Investments Impacted: One stock that is reacting to the news Wednesday is MGO Global (NASDAQ: MGOL), with shares up 20% to $1.50.

MGO Global is a branding and marketing company that is the operator of the Messi Store. The company could benefit from a new fan base ready to buy merchandise related to the global soccer star. The Messi brand is a “premium lifestyle team set forth to create a brand identity” of Messi on and off the pitch, according to the company’s website.

Messi was previously linked with a move back to FC Barcelona, a team he played for until the 2020-2021 season. Barcelona has the Barcelona Fan Token (CRYPTO: BAR), which would have likely seen a rise in value if Messi made a return.

Likewise, the PSG Fan Token (CRYPTO: PSG) linked to Messi’s current home of Paris Saint Germain would have seen increased interest if Messi decided to stay with the French club.

Many of the teams in the MLS are owned by team owners who own various other soccer or North American sports teams. One team that is connected to stocks is Toronto FC.

Toronto FC is owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which counts Canadian companies Rogers Communications (NYSE: RCI) and BCE (NYSE: BCE) as stakeholders. The two Canadian companies each own 37.5% of Toronto FC.

Attendance, viewership and overall fan engagement could be up for MLS in 2023, which could benefit all teams in the league.

Read Next: 10 Public Sports Teams And Leagues You Can Buy Shares In

Photo via Shutterstock.

© 2023 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

Read the original article on Benzinga

Lionel Messi Joins MLS In Surprise Move: Here's How Apple Could Have Played Into Decision To Join David Beckham's Team

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