CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – With one announcement, Lionel Messi catapulted Major League Soccer.
“Going to bring a massive amount of fans, like the fans eyes to the MLS,” says CLTFC Lucha, fan and member of the Carolina Hooliganz supporter group. “People who probably would have never given MLS a second chance. Now they are going to want to come see it.”
Many of Charlottes’ Hispanic residents already knew about Messi’s greatness on the field with soccer being a major sport for them growing up. Seeing the star from Argentina bring his talents to Inter-Miami means a lot of cities including the Queen City can catch a glimpse of Messi.
“In my book, I don’t see myself going overseas to see him play,” adds Zeily Melendez, also a part of Carolina Hooliganz. “So, him coming to us I really can’t describe it. It’s like he will be here. It’s all I can say, he will be here, and I will see him.”
Fans could have two chances to see Messi in October. Once on the road in Miami, and then the final home match for Charlotte FC on October 21st.
“I think as far as attendance goes it could very well surpass opening night or be close to it,” said researcher, Bryant Baucom referring to the October 21st game if Messi plays.
Baucom has been looking at Messi mania since the announcement. Charlotte ranked as the 4th most Messi-obsessed city across the U.S. and Canada. The data was released in an article for Sporting Book. He looked at hashtags on social media, internet searches, and ticket sales.
“The cheapest at the time of this study, it may have changed and likely will before the game in October was $148 dollars, the cheapest ticket, and the most expensive was $15,668, now that is the 3rd most expensive,” added Baucom.
Someone may not pay thousands, but it is what was listed. Charlotte’s lowest ranking was the hashtags, but why talk about it when there’s a possibility you could see a legend in person. That is what many residents of a growing population in the Queen City are hoping for.
“Having him here at the Bank, like right in front of me, I believe I am going to faint that day,” said Melendez.