The GOAT Effect: Messi Is Most Bet on Soccer Player at DraftKings Since Miami Debut

  • US sportsbooks are taking in a large number of bets on Messi and Inter Miami
  • The team is now third in the MLS Cup betting despite its poor season to date
  • Rises in attendance, jersey sales, and overall MLS interest are off the charts
Lionel Messi in Inter Miami shirt
US sportsbooks have been taking a significant number of bets on Lionel Messi and Inter Miami since his move to the US. [Image:]

A boom in interest

Lionel Messi has cemented his position as one of the biggest names in professional soccer for more than 15 years. The Argentinian maestro’s career is gradually winding down, and he recently turned down a mega-money move to the Saudi Pro League to join MLS side Inter Miami, a significant boost for the team and the league as a whole.

more bets on Messi than any other soccer player in the world

Sportsbooks are also seeing much greater interest in MLS games involving 36-year-old Messi. DraftKings revealed that it has taken in more bets on Messi than any other soccer player in the world since his first US game in July. Inter Miami was also the second-most bet-on team in terms of volume and handle during the period, with only the US women’s national team ahead of it.

The impact on sportsbooks

Speaking to Front Office Sports, DraftKings Director of Race and Sportsbook Operations Johnny Avello said that each game in which Messi plays garners huge levels of interest, a trend noticed by other sportsbooks too. For Inter Miami games, around 90% of all goalscorer wagers at Caesars Sportsbook go on Messi, while BetMGM has taken five times the amount of action on the team’s fixtures since the Argentinian made his debut.

He scored his first MLS game just last week through a stunning piece of teamwork:

Messi’s performances have proven exceptional so far, including 11 goals and three assists in just ten games. The odds of Inter Miami winning the MLS Cup have drastically shortened over the past couple of months, from +17500 in June to +700 after Messi’s goal streak.

Americans are evidently backing the team in droves

Inter Miami only has a slim chance of making it to the MLS Cup playoffs, positioned 14th in the league after 24 matches played. Despite this, Americans are evidently backing the team in droves. For sportsbooks, this means a significant boost in interest during a time of year when betting volumes are traditionally down until the NFL season kicks off.

A rising tide lifts all boats

It’s not just sportsbooks that are benefitting from the attacker’s move stateside. Inter Miami has profited from a rise in attendance since the Argentinian arrived. The club has now committed to building a new 25,000-seater stadium while merchandise sales have also risen off the charts. Apple TV MLS pass subscriber numbers have more than doubled since his arrival.

Messi will reportedly earn an annual salary of between $50m and $60m at Inter Miami, as well as receiving an ownership stake in the team. He will also benefit from revenue-sharing deals with Apple, Fanatics, and Adidas.

More Inter Miami Messi jerseys were sold in the first 24 hours of his arrival than any other athlete in any sport after changing teams. The MLS as a whole is now garnering a lot more attention from across the world.

While plenty of other superstars have moved to the US towards the end of their careers, such as David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimović, Messi is on a whole other level as a recent World Cup-winning captain and seven-time Ballon d’Or recipient.

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