Given the astronomical sums and figures that surround elite professional football, it can be hard to get your head around the impact players have. Fortunately that's not the case with Lionel Messi, who recently made the move to MLS side, Inter Miami.
Much has been said about the star's move. Considered by many to be the greatest player of a generation – and by some, the greatest of all time – Messi's move was met with a degree of scepticism. Some considered the star to be moving below his ability, something which echoes comments made about the top-tier of football in the USA in the past.
It's impossible to deny his impact though. If the packed terraces and star-studded attendees of the Argentine's first game weren't enough of a clue, the figures certainly are. According to a recent earnings call – and a supplementary tweet from Inter Miami owner, Jorge Mas – MLS Season Pass subscriptions have doubled since Messi came to Miami.
Based on reported figures from before the move happened, it's expected that around 2 million users are now actively subscribed. According to Mas, around half of those watching Messi games are also viewing the Spanish commentary, which could indicate users from other countries and regions are joining the fray.
That equates to a substantial amount of revenue. Users can gain access to the service for £/$14.99 a month, or £/$99 per season. If you're already an Apple TV+ subscriber, you can shave a little off of that, too.
It's something which the team behind the Saudi Pro League should be paying close attention to. Springing up seemingly out of nowhere, the Saudi Arabian top flight has cropped up in almost every transfer rumour this summer. With a seemingly endless pot of money, they've managed to entice swathes of talent from the top five European leagues. Chances are, if you support a football team, someone who has played for them is now plying their trade in the league.
That gives them a real golden opportunity to capitalise and set eyeballs on their matches. You see, while the draw of a World Cup winning, once in a lifetime footballer is a big deal, it's practically worthless if fans can't access it. One of the reasons why I think MLS Season Pass is so popular is because it's so easy to use.
Of course, it won't be a simple task. The Saudi League has come under fire for various things – alleged unjust money practice and treatment of the LGBTQIA+ community are just a couple. But if they want to highlight the footballing prowess they've amassed, I think they should be looking at how Apple and the MLS have combined as a blueprint for success.