Kambi: Messi’s Arrival Spurs Record Betting in 2023 MLS Season

The 2023 Major League Soccer (MLS) season has recorded unprecedented betting activity, primarily driven by Lionel Messi’s transfer to Inter Miami CF. Kambi, a prominent sportsbook provider, revealed that this season saw a 33% increase in betting compared to 2022, with Messi’s mid-season arrival being a key factor. Inter Miami CF, co-owned by David Beckham, experienced a significant rise in popularity, transitioning from the 15th to the most bet-on MLS team this year. They surpassed Los Angeles FC, which is competing in the MLS Cup against Columbus Crew.

Messi’s influence has also expanded the MLS’s global reach, especially in Latin America. Kambi’s data indicates notable betting growth in this region, including a 135% increase in Argentina, Messi’s home country. Messi, who has won eight Ballon d’Or awards and was named Time Magazine’s Athlete of the Year for 2023, has rapidly become one of the most wagered-on players in the MLS, closely approaching the records set by Zlatan Ibrahimović and Carlos Vela. In 2023, bets on Messi were 140% higher than those on Los Angeles FC winger Denis Bouanga, the second most bet-on player.

Jonathon Hurst, Kambi’s 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.”

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