Arrival of eight-time Ballon d’Or winner coincides with soaring interest in American soccer league
Lionel Messi’s arrival at Inter Miami led to an “unprecedented impact” on betting engagement and popularity on MLS, according to Kambi.
Ahead of the 2023 MLS Cup this weekend, the sports betting supplier giant has announced new insights which found an increase of 33% more bets on the 2023 MLS season compared to 2022.
With World Cup winner Messi joining Inter Miami in July, interest has soared among bettors across Kambi’s network of operator partners.
Additionally, Inter Miami became the most bet on MLS team of the year as the former Barcelona and PSG forward played six times and scored four goals in the league.
Inter Miami jumped from being the 15th most bet on team in 2022, with eight of the top 10 games for betting traffic featuring the club.
Messi has already become the most bet on player in MLS over the last four years, with the number of bets on the Argentine last season 140% higher than second placed LA FC winger Denis Bouanga.
Messi’s status has also seen a large spike in Latam interest in MLS betting, with Argentina seeing a 135% increase in MLS bets in 2023 compared to 2022.
Jonathon Hurst, Kambi head of soccer, said: “The arrival of Lionel Messi to the MLS has been a landmark moment for the league and it’s looking even more likely he will soon be joined at Inter Miami by former Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez.
“Messi’s global appeal and star power have captured the attention of fans worldwide, and this has translated into a significant increase in betting engagement on MLS matches,” he added.