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CF Montreal supporters' groups denounce ticket prices for Messi, Inter Miami’s visit

Inter Miami's Lionel Messi speaks during a press conference at a hotel, ahead of his team's friendly soccer match against Vissel Kobe in Tokyo, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. Two CF Montreal supporters’ groups are taking issue with the rise in ticket prices with “Messi Mania” coming to the city this spring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Shuji Kajiyama
Inter Miami's Lionel Messi speaks during a press conference at a hotel, ahead of his team's friendly soccer match against Vissel Kobe in Tokyo, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. Two CF Montreal supporters’ groups are taking issue with the rise in ticket prices with “Messi Mania” coming to the city this spring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Shuji Kajiyama
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Two CF Montreal supporters’ groups are taking issue with the rise in ticket prices with “Messi Mania” coming to the city this spring.

Inter Miami and Lionel Messi — the global icon who took North American soccer by storm with his Florida arrival last summer — are scheduled to visit Montreal’s Stade Saputo for a Major League Soccer game on May 11.

Supporters’ group 1642MTL released a statement Wednesday morning on X platform, formerly known as Twitter, stating the club intends to charge $449 plus taxes in the designated supporters’ section in the stadium's east end — more than 10 times the price of any other match, they say.

Collectif Impact Montréal, another group which occupies the supporters’ section in the stadium’s west end, added its voice to the cause and said the hike in price will make it impossible for several committed members to attend the match.

CF Montreal announced on Jan. 18 that season tickets — starting at $444 — had sold out for the first time since the club joined MLS in 2012, making up 15,000 of Stade Saputo’s 20,801 capacity. The club then released a six-game bundle — which included Inter Miami’s visit — starting at $750. That package sold out on Feb. 14.

CF Montreal single-match tickets go on pre-sale Friday before being released to the general public Saturday.

“We understand that the situation is special and that the high demand for tickets justifies an increase in price. However, we are disappointed that the club did not make a gesture of goodwill to offer tickets at a reasonable price to the groups of supporters who accompanied the team when the stadium was sometimes half full,” Simon Carignan, coordinator of 1642MTL, said in a statement.

“It would have been a nice gesture of recognition allowing the supporters already present in the section to be able to bring additional supporters to encourage CFMTL. The club made the choice to put dollars before loyalty, and that’s regrettable.”

CF Montreal did not wish to comment on the supporters’ clubs’ statements.

Montreal isn’t the only city experiencing an increase in ticket prices due to the possibility of Messi visiting town.

General admission tickets for Inter Miami’s match against Toronto FC at BMO Field on Oct. 5 come out to $292.80, including fees and taxes, on Ticketmaster. The cheapest seat for Miami’s meeting with the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place Stadium on May 25 is $249. Meanwhile, tickets for Vancouver’s ensuing match against Colorado start at $24.

There is also no guarantee Messi will play in any of the games.

The 2022 World Cup winner and eight-time Ballon d’Or recipient, drew heavy criticism after Hong Kong soccer fans and government expressed their disappointment when he stayed on the bench for an entire exhibition match during Miami’s pre-season global tour on Feb. 4.

Messi also missed six league games last season after joining Miami on a free transfer in July.

CF Montreal opens the 2024 season on Saturday in Orlando. Its first home game is set for April 13 against Cincinnati.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2024. 

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