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Sporting KC moves game against Messi, Inter Miami CF to Arrowhead

YE-Pop Culture Moments
Posted at 1:00 PM, Jan 08, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More people in Kansas City will get to see Lionel Messi play when Inter Miami CF visits Sporting Kansas City three months from now.

Sporting KC announced Monday that its April 13 match — which also will feature international stars and Inter Miami teammates Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, among others — is being moved to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

“This match has generated an unprecedented amount of interest since Major League Soccer released our schedule less than three weeks ago,” Sporting KC President and CEO Jake Reid said in a statement. “We believe this will be the biggest event in Kansas City this spring and we are proud to partner with Arrowhead Events to provide an incredible experience for our fans and our team. The opportunity to host this match, which is set to be Lionel Messi’s first MLS match in the Midwest, at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium is especially exciting as our region prepares to host Copa America matches this summer and FIFA World Cup matches in 2026.”

Children’s Mercy Park, Sporting KC’s home in Kansas City, Kansas, seats around 20,000, while Arrowhead seats more than 76,000.

The game will be played on the 28th anniversary of the then-Kansas City Wiz’s inaugural match, which was played at Arrowhead on April 13, 1996.

Tickets for the match and the chance to see Messi, who was Time’s Athlete of the Year for 2023, will go on sale at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 16, via Ticketmaster.

Messi’s impact on Inter Miami has been undeniable and immediate.

The 36-year-old Argentinian attacking midfielder led Inter Miami to a championship in the 2023 Leagues Cup, which features all 47 MLS and Liga MX teams, scoring a tournament-best 10 goals with four assists in seven matches.

On his debut with Inter Miami against Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup opener, Messi came on as a second-half sub and dotted a perfect free kick for the game-winning goal in stoppage time — a glimpse into the mania ahead.

“I remember getting in the car on the way back, and I said to [my wife] Victoria, ‘I’m not even sure I can drive home,’” David Beckham told Time for its story honoring Messi. “You couldn’t have written it better. It was for MLS, and for America. It was for the future of the game.”

Messi, who announced last June he would leave Paris Saint-Germain for Inter Miami, also had a goal and two assists in six MLS regular-season matches, including four starts.

It was only 13 months ago that Messi led Argentina to the 2022 FIFA World Cup crown with two goals in a thrilling showdown against France and former PSG teammate Kylian Mbappé, cementing his place among the greatest soccer players of all time.

So, it’s no wonder, as soon as Messi arrived stateside, his jersey became the top seller in MLS history and ticket prices for Inter Miami games skyrocketed.

The chance to see Messi, the winner of a record eight Ballon d’Or awards as soccer’s best player, in person is certain to be a hot ticket in Kansas City, which will host a handful of games in the 2026 FIFA World Cup at Arrowhead.

Inter Miami’s visit in April is expected to set a new MLS attendance record for the Kansas City area.