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Inter Miami fans leave in droves after Messi subs off

Few would argue that Inter Miami’s high-profile midseason acquisitions have brought Major League Soccer to a level of notoriety that it has never seen before. Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets were always going to bring new fans to DRV PNK Stadium, but Tuesday’s crowd will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. 

Following Messi’s substitution late in the match, videos showed many fans in the crowd leaving their seats and heading home for the night. 

In his post-game press conference, Inter Miami’s head coach Tata Martino expressed a muted irritation when asked about the premature exodus. 

Empty seats are nothing new in Miami or MLS as a whole, but it is certainly frustrating to see so many people pay exorbitant fees only to prioritize beating the traffic. Prior to heading for the exits, the satisfied fans had been treated to another eye-watering performance from Tata Martino’s side and particularly the Argentinian talisman as Inter cruised to a 4-0 win. With the result, Miami secured the top spot in its group, leaving Cruz Azul and Atlanta United to fight for second on Saturday, July 29. 

Scattered amongst the affluent dressed in pink, was a host of empty seats. For the chance to rub noses with the likes of DJ Khaled, Camila Cabello and Sean Combs, fans could pay upwards of $1,000. If they only cared about getting through the turnstiles to see their idols, the prices were still far from affordable. According to The Athletic, “official tickets still remained for Tuesday’s encounter right up until the opening whistle, the large majority of which were selling for $220-$280.” 

Much has been said about the massive increase in ticket prices, with some American media outlets even celebrating the rise as a sign of Messi’s influence in the sport, but watching from home, those priced out from the newest “it” ticket in Miami would have been infuriated by these fans who clearly don’t care about anything other than seeing the Argentine.

Lopsided scorelines make this complicated, but it remains to be seen what will happen in a close game or if Messi were to hypothetically be forced off the pitch early due to injury. Such will be the nature of Messi’s MLS career. His arrival is bringing the casuals into stadiums, but unfortunately, these fire drills will likely continue to happen as long as Messi leaves the pitch early. 

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