Messi's MLS move, and Saudi Arabia's grand soccer plans - ESPN
Each week, Luis Miguel Echegaray discusses the latest from the soccer world, including standout performances, what you might have missed and what to keep an eye on in the coming days.
Lionel Messi is coming to America
This is huge.
To call Messi's move to MLS and Inter Miami a monumental moment for America's soccer landscape is to undersell it. This is massive in more ways than one. Let's begin with the actual audience -- both as fans and active players, young, old, regardless of gender, amateur or professional. From a participation perspective, the interest for high schoolers is increasing and as the pay-to-play system continues to be fought, more immigrant communities and younger generations are selecting the sport over traditional American choices.
Viewership-wise? Forget about it. The social and digital landscape has opened the doors for millions to consume the game -- from mobile to smart TVs, YouTube and social media -- and MLS, specifically with its Apple distribution deal -- is now going to have a global reach. All leading up to 2026, when the U.S., Canada and Mexico host the World Cup. Now, Messi's arrival accelerates this entire process, not just for Inter Miami and the league, but for the country in general.