'I was shocked': Lionel Messi effect sends Apple boss into meltdown | Football News - Hindustan Times
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'I was shocked': Lionel Messi effect sends Apple boss into meltdown, urges MLS teams to follow similar strategy

Feb 23, 2024 09:55 AM IST

Lionel Messi's arrival has increased viewership for Apple TV, where MLS matches are streamed.

Lionel Messi's arrival to Inter Miami made headlines last year as the 2022 World Cup winner joined MLS, instead of Barcelona or Saudi Arabia. Since then, MLS has seen a massive increase in viewership and also ticket sales. Messi's arrival also saw Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba move to Miami last year. Meanwhile, Luis Suarez joined his former Barcelona teammates last December.

Lionel Messi in action for Inter Miami.(Getty Images via AFP)
Lionel Messi in action for Inter Miami.(Getty Images via AFP)

Hailing the move, Eddy Cue, head of Apple TV's collaboration with MLS, urged clubs to follow Inter Miami's strategy and sign top stars. After Miami's 2-0 win vs Real Salt Lake, Cue revealed that Messi's arrival increased subscriptions from Europa, South America and North America.

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"I'm excited that there are teams that are definitely pushing hard. Obviously what Inter Miami has done is an example of that and I think there needs to be more teams doing that and I think there will be," he said.

"At least I've seen it enough now that there's a level of excitement... when anybody asks what do I want from anybody, any of the teams, I'm like, sign some more players!"

Messi's arrival gave MLS it's much-needed global tag. MLS commissioner Don Garber said, "Season tickets are up, our overall ticket sales are up, our sponsorship is up, social media and our media coverage is up. All of that is bringing global recognition to the league."

Cue also mentioned that he didn't expect such a big impact from Messi's transfer. "I was shocked. I had no idea because I knew it would make a difference but I thought it would take time. He just moved the needle really fast on a global perspective and the U.S. perspective," he said.

"So, no, I did not appreciate the power and the reach that he had... it's amazing to see," he added.

In 2022, Apple and MLS signed a big agreement allowing Apple to offer streaming of all league matches on a global scale for 10 years in exchange for at least 250 million dollars per season.

MLS and Apple have reportedly offered Messi a share of the profits generated by new subscribers to the MLS Season Pass streaming service on Apple TV. Meanwhile, Apple TV has also released a four-episode documentary series on Messi, that will showcase his World Cup run.

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