Lionel Messi the modern-day King Midas – Here is how the soccer star will change the fortunes of Inter Miami and thanks to an unprecedented contract with the club and Apple push his career earnings to $1.6 billion in two short years.

Via Facebook / @Leo Messi

Argentinian soccer superstar Lionel Messi pretty much cemented his status as the greatest football player of all time after winning the World Cup last year. Having already received seven Ballon d’Or awards, the most for any football player, as well as the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year, and the 2019 and 2022 Best FIFA Men’s Player, winning the World Cup for his country was the only accomplishment that was missing from his illustrious career. Messi might be at the last stage of his career as a professional soccer player, but clubs from all over the world are still willing to offer record-breaking contracts to sign him, which is hardly a surprise considering his unparalleled popularity. However, it came as a complete puzzler to many when the soccer star turned down a jaw-dropping contract worth around $1.1 billion to join a Saudi Arabian club.

Messi with his family in Saudi Arabia.Via Instagram / @leomessi

According to several reports that were published a few months back, the Argentinian star had received an exceptional proposal from Saudi Arabia offering him a staggering $1.3 bn over two seasons, with the option of a third. Had Messi signed the contract, it would have been worth double what Cristiano Ronaldo is earning at Saudi side Al-Nassr.

Via Facebook / @Inter Miami CF

However, Messi decided to give up on the monstrous deal and sign a contract with Florida-based American soccer club Inter Miami. On paper, the agreement is reportedly worth up to $150 million over two-and-a-half years, which is a fraction of what he was being offered to play in the Middle East. Doesn’t really make sense, right? Actually, it does. Believe me or not but Leo Messi might end up making more than a billion dollars playing for Inter Miami in the MLS. According to some estimates, his career earnings will reach an estimated $1.6 billion by the end of 2025.

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David Beckham is the co-owner of Inter Miami.Via Instagram / @davidbeckham

An unprecedented pay package
According to a report by Sportico, Messi’s Miami deal is worth between $50 million and $60 million per year, which includes his salary, signing bonus, and equity in the team. While it might not match the deal offered to him by a Saudi club, it’s quite impressive.

Via Instagram / @leomessi

In fact, the contract is on par with what the highest-earning athletes in the NBA and NFL make in salary. Two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic earns around $55 million a year on average, while 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson’s current deal is worth $52 million. What makes Messi’s contract truly unmatched is the team equity component, which means the soccer star will directly benefit from any financial upside he creates by joining the team. This kind of comprehensive compensation package has never been offered before in sports.

Inter Miami’s Instagram followers have shot up since signing Messi. Image – Sportico.

There’s a very good reason why the owner of the MLS club offered such an unprecedented contract to Messi. The Argentinian is one of the most followed athletes on Instagram with over 482 million followers on the social media platform. Inter Miami’s billionaire owner Jorge Mas believes that the club’s revenue will double from last year’s $56 million to $110 million this year with Messi playing for the side. In addition to that, Mas also predicts that the team’s valuation could reach up to $1.5 billion by next year, which is around a 150% increase from the current $600 million valuation. With equity in the team, Messi is set to directly benefit from it.

Apple pays a cut to Messi for every new subscriber to the company’s MLS Season Pass streaming service.

Groundbreaking deal with Apple
To help convince Messi to join Inter Miami, the MLS club reached out to Apple and asked them to offer a deal the soccer star could not refuse. Recently, Apple acquired the exclusive global broadcasting rights to MLS by paying $2.5 billion for a 10-year deal. With Messi playing in the league, the viewership is expected to skyrocket; and the Cupertino-based company wanted to share some of those fortunes with Messi a cut of revenue from new subscribers to Apple’s MLS Season Pass streaming service. Just like the team equity component, this part of the deal is also unprecedented.

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And if Google Search data is to be considered, it is already working for Apple as there has been an explosion of Google searches for MLS Season Pass ever since Messi joined the league. In fact, Inter Miami’s owner has said MLS Season Pass subscribers on Apple TV have more than doubled since Messi joined the team.

Fans dont shy from buying expensive Messi merchandise.Via Instagram / @davidbeckham

Adidas – impossible is nothing, especially when it’s with Leo Messi
The compensation offered to Messi beyond the regular salary is not limited to the revenue-sharing deal with Apple. The contract terms also include a deal with another one of MLS’s partners – Adidas. Messi fans don’t shy away from spending hundreds of dollars on merchandise with his name and jersey number.

Via Instagram / @davidbeckham

Around 2 million soccer jerseys with Messi’s name used to sell each year when he played for Barcelona. The top execs at Adidas will be a happy bunch if the company sells even 500,000 Inter Milan shirts, which are priced anywhere between $125 to $180. By earning royalty on each piece of merchandise sold, Messi could easily earn several million dollars each year from this deal, and also help his new club increase its revenue. Crazy, right?

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Written By
Sayan Chakravarty, a Senior Writer at Luxurylaunches, brings over 10 years of automotive journalism expertise. He provides insightful coverage of the latest cars and motorcycles across American and European markets, while also highlighting luxury yachts, high-end watches, and gadgets. An authentic automobile aficionado, his commitment shines through in educating readers about the automotive world. When the keyboard rests, Sayan feeds his wanderlust, traversing the world on his motorcycle.