MLS record attendance grows with Lionel Messi

MLS reaches record attendance in 2024
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Major League Soccer (MLS) is on the verge of breaking yet another attendance record in 2024, solidifying itself as a rising force in the North American sports landscape. Following an impressive year in 2023, MLS has already drawn 6.5 million fans this season, a significant increase of 725,000 compared to the same period last year.

The impact of the Lionel Messi phenomenon at Inter Miami is evident, with five matches attracting over 60,000 fans, the highest number in the league's history to date. Additionally, six games had crowds exceeding 50,000, and fifteen surpassed the 40,000 mark, demonstrating a significant growth in game attendance. This reflects an overall 13% increase in game attendance, highlighting the growing enthusiasm for soccer in the United States and Canada.

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The 13% rise in total MLS attendance compared to 2023 is driven by several factors. Consistent Saturday night scheduling, a 15% increase in the season ticket base, and heightened excitement surrounding soccer have all contributed. However, the most impactful factor has been the "Lionel Messi Effect." The presence of the Argentine star at Inter Miami CF has drawn large crowds, as evidenced by the 72,610 fans at the game against Sporting Kansas City and the 65,612 at the match against the New England Revolution.

Upcoming events like the 2024 Copa América, the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup, and the 2026 FIFA World Cup, all set to take place in MLS markets, are also driving interest in soccer. These tournaments bring world-class players, both from MLS and other leagues, increasing the sport's visibility and appeal.

With the summer schedule in full swing, key dates like the MLS All-Star Game, the Leagues Cup, and Decision Day promise to continue attracting large crowds. Additionally, the secondary transfer window provides clubs with the opportunity to bolster their rosters, maintaining competitiveness and fan excitement.

The future of MLS looks bright, with a growing fan base and renewed interest in soccer. The league is on an upward trajectory, ready to set new records and solidify its place in the North American sports scene.