With soccer hitting the roof in the United States last season, Don Garber, the Major league Soccer Commissioner, has revealed that the league performed way better than expected and ‘overdelivered’ in terms of viewership. Garber credited new Inter Miami signing and MLS Newcomer of the Year finalist Lionel Messi for the success.
The MLS and Apple had signed a viewership deal, for the games to be broadcasted on AppleTV, before the season started. Don Garber, without revealing any numbers, said that the Apple TV subscriptions and the daily viewership has accelerated, more than the numbers that Apple forecasted.
Don Garber claims MLS ‘overdelivered’ on Apple’s expectations
MLS Commissioner Don Garber came out to disclose the increase of subscriptions and viewership, and that few games crossed the one million mark, for the first time in the country. The increase in soccer viewership in the United States comes at a much-needed time, as USA gears up hard to host the Copa America in 2024, and the FIFA World Cup in 2026.
Don Garber, while addressing the press ahead of the MLS Cup final, said, “What we’re focused on is the amount of subscriptions that we’re selling”.
He went on to add, “The amount of time that those people who are watching those games in front of and behind the paywall are spending on our broadcasts”.
According to reports, on Messi’s Inter Miami debut, 110,075 new MLS Season Pass registrations were made, marking a 280% rise when compared to the amount of signups on the first day of the 2023 season. After Messi’s second game, an additional 65,000 people registered.
Don Garber credits Lionel Messi for MLS’s successful year
Lionel Messi, without a doubt, has been the factor for boosting MLS and its standards from all angles, and Don Garber has rightfully come out to say 2023 was the “year of Messi”. It was also reported recently that the Inter Miami season passes are already sold out, which speaks volumes about the impact of the record Ballon d’Or winner.
Garber credited Messi for pulling the numbers, and stated, “I think history will look back at 2023 as the year of Messi, but from my perspective, it was perhaps the most spectacular year in our history, for a variety of reasons, and Lionel Messi took it to a level that probably was hard to imagine”.
Messi already has 11 goals and 8 assists in his 14 appearances for Inter Miami and has also bagged the Leagues Cup in such a short time. With Messi’s first full MLS season coming soon, the GOAT would hope to light up the stage like he always does.
Do you think Lionel Messi will renew and stay in Inter Miami post-2025 when his contract runs out? Comment your take on it.