Messi larger-than-life Miami first full season


Inter Miami increases stadium capacity ahead of new season Image: DRV PNK Stadium, Cornfield948, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Major League Soccer (MLS) team Inter Miami CF have added 1,200 extra seats to their DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (US) due to “unprecedented demand” ahead of what will be the soccer giant Lionel Messi’s first full season with the MLS club.

‘The Athletic’ stated that the Inter Miami CF have added a new seating section in the South-West corner and increased capacity in the North-East and South-East corners, bringing the capacity of their ground to 21,550.

The Inter Miami CF or Inter Miami is an American professional soccer club based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (US). Established in 2018, the club began playing in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer during the 2020 season.

The DRV PNK Stadium is a soccer-specific stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (US). Built on the site of the now-demolished 17,417-capacity Lockhart Stadium, the 21,550-seat stadium is the home pitch of Inter Miami CF of Major League Soccer (MLS) and its MLS Next Pro reserve side Inter Miami CF II.

The Inter Miami Club de Fútbol II, commonly known as Inter Miami CF II, is an American professional soccer club based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that plays in the MLS Next Pro, the third-tier of American soccer.

The Major League Soccer (MLS) is a men’s professional soccer league sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation, which represents the sport’s highest level in the United States. The league comprises 29 teams – 26 in the United States and 3 in Canada – since the 2023 season. The league is headquartered in Midtown Manhattan.

North Carolina (US)-based the MLS Next Pro (MLSNP) is a men’s professional soccer league in North America that is affiliated with Major League Soccer (MLS). It launched in 2022 with 21 teams and has since expanded to 27 reserve sides of MLS clubs and two independent clubs. The MLS Next Pro is classified as part of the third tier of the United States soccer league system.

Lionel Messi is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward for and captains both the Major League Soccer club Inter Miami CF and the Argentina national team. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Messi has won a record eight Ballon d’Or awards (an annual football award presented by the French news magazine France Football), a record six European Golden Shoes (an award that is presented each season to the leading goal scorer in league matches from the top division of a European national league) and was named the world’s best player for a record eight times by FIFA. Until leaving the club in 2021, he had spent his entire professional career with the LaLiga (the top flight of Spanish football) team FC Barcelona (Spain), where he won a club-record 34 trophies.

‘The Athletic’ further stated that this is Miami’s second expansion of the DRV PNK Stadium in recent months, with a previous expansion taking the capacity from 19,000 fans to 21,000.

The additional seating will be available for the Miami fans to buy as single match tickets. Miami sold out of their season tickets for the 2024 MLS regular season back in November, just two weeks after the end of the 2023 campaign.

Messi joined Miami on a free transfer from the Ligue 1 team Paris Saint-Germain F.C. (France) last Summer and the 36-year-old’s arrival saw the club’s tickets skyrocket in price.

After Messi signed, Inter Miami added fellow former Barcelona stars Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba (Spanish footballers) but were still eliminated from MLS playoff contention in October, with two matches remaining in the regular season. This offseason, Miami have signed yet another former Barcelona player in striker Luis Suárez (Uruguayan footballer), who joined from the Brazilian professional football club Grêmio.

Messi did win silverware with Inter Miami last year, as his 10 goals in seven matches helped his side win the Leagues Cup title.

The Leagues Cup is an annual association football competition between clubs from Major League Soccer and Liga MX (top professional football division in Mexico) in North America, hosted in the United States and Canada. It debuted in July 2019 with four teams from both leagues participating.

The Miami begin their 2024 MLS regular season at home against their peer team Real Salt Lake on February 21st.

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