Lionel Messi’s worldwide tour with Inter Miami has been quite chaotic. The focus of the tour has been on Argentina’s World Cup-winning captain, with the intention of promoting and marketing the team by featuring stars like Messi and Luis Suarez from Uruguay. However, instead of positive publicity, the tour has mostly garnered negative attention and the results on the field have been less than impressive.
The tour has taken them from El Salvador to Dallas, then Saudi Arabia, and most recently Hong Kong. Their next destination is Tokyo’s National Stadium, where they will face Vissel Kobe on Wednesday, followed by a final match on February 16th in Florida against Messi’s childhood club, Newell’s Old Boys.
This club could potentially be his last stop before retirement. So far, Inter Miami has been outscored 12-7 in five games and has only managed to win once. Even that victory in Hong Kong was overshadowed by disgruntled fans demanding refunds and booing, as both Messi and Suarez were unable to play due to injuries and their advancing age. Messi is 36 years old and Suarez is 37, making them more susceptible to frequent injuries.
“The marketing hype surrounding the event and the involvement of government subsidies create high expectations among global fans,” said John Grady, a sports law professor at the University of South Carolina.
“This also leads to the anticipation that marquee players will indeed make appearances as advertised.” Despite knowing that these games are merely practice matches and hold no significance in the standings, fans still choose to pay exorbitant prices and attend. As the Latin phrase goes, caveat emptor, or “let the buyer beware.”