Hosting Lionel Messi Brings Millions to Other MLS Clubs

On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams speak with Marc de Grandpré, president and GM of the New York Red Bulls, about the business of Lionel Messi, and Major League Soccer’s new Apple deal.

The Red Bulls host Messi’s Inter Miami CF on Saturday, and de Grandpré describes how the MLS club prepared to maximize the revenue from this specific game. The Red Bulls held back ticket inventory all year knowing Messi was a possibility, and restructured their offerings once the news was official. The ticket gate for this game will be two to three times larger than for a normal game. (De Grandpré actually says “two-thirds more,” but Sportico confirmed after the recording that 2-3x was the accurate number).

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Next the trio discusses other ways Messi has affected the Red Bulls business beyond this one game, with de Grandpré delving into next year’s season ticket sales, sponsorship discussions and a major upcoming commercial deal. The team is in the early stages of sourcing a new naming rights partner for Red Bull Arena, which opened in 2010 and has never had another company’s name. He says the team will work with an outside agency on that process, though the contract is not set.

Lastly, they talk about the league’s new $2.5 billion media deal with Apple, as de Grandpré gets into the business benefits of that partnership and how it has influenced the MLS club’s business.

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