Dan starts by pointing out that Messi, is in fact, the biggest star in ALL of sports, even putting LeBron James to shame. Bennett said Wednesday was an amazing day for anyone who loves the growth of the sport, especially in America. Messi comes to America on a high, having won the World Cup with Argentina in 2022 and he arrives transcending the sport. Bennett joked that despite being only 5-foot-7, the noise Messi makes translates to him being visible from outer space. He said, “It’s like if the Dalai Lama was really good at futbol and was coming to live and breathe amongst us. It’s going to be quite a zoo.”
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Dan asks Roger what it will mean historically, but Roger retorted by asking what does anything mean, we’re all going to die and it’s just about what we do between now and that point that matters. Kind of a dark turn, no?
But seriously, Dan wants to talk about what the biggest star in sports coming and lending his name to American soccer at the height of his leverage in a gangster business move means. Dan points out that the Messi brand is about to try and conquer the United States and if it can, then soccer can too. Roger said that it’s a bit like if LeBron decided to leave the NBA and take off for the Shanghai Sharks or if Tom Brady unretired (again) to ... play in the CFL. And Roger points out that America has had some moments on the men’s side, specifically involving Pele and David Beckham. But Roger says this is both of those men times a thousand. Messi, in this digitally wired age, is “faintly visible from space as the world’s greatest public billboard.” He also said Messi coming to America is one in the eye for Saudi Arabia — they can have the golf, but they can’t have Lionel Messi.
Roger notes that the Saudis reportedly offered Messi $1.3 billion, but the Inter Miami offer is very creative and it's not just the money. They’ve offered him equity in Inter Miami, plus Apple and Adidas has kicked in with shares of their earnings from the league. Roger says his arrival is going to be downright Messianic, as Messi will be courtside, hanging out with Jimmy Butler, high-fiving Tua before Dolphins games. For the game of futbol, with the World Cup coming to America in 2026, it’s rocket fuel for the growth of the game. He notes that ticket prices are surging, as is Inter Miami’s Instagram follower count. He says we’re going to the moon.
Amin asks that with the World Cup coming in 2026 is this the watershed moment where the MLS forces its way into the conversation with the Big Four professional sports in America. Roger said that’s a good question and points out that the 1994 World Cup was intended to make soccer big in America overnight but the masses resisted and the growth was slow and steady. But he does note that the sport has grown in America and there is a massive American audience now that is deep, passionate and super young. He says Messi will be a driver for the game, but just one of many with the goal being that America becomes a “normal” soccer nation like the rest of the world. Roger says he’s most excited about the idea that Messi going city to city will inspire America’s youth to make soccer their sport of choice and not abandon it once they hit age 8 or 9 as has been the case he’s seen when interviewing American athletes on Men In Blazers.
Meanwhile, it wasn’t all W’s for Mike Ryan, even after being validated by Messi coming to Miami ...
Our live hour on YouTube just started and crazed lunatic @MichaelRyanRuiz has already been sent to the penalty box for relentlessly claiming that the refs fixed the Heat-Nuggets game last night— Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (@LeBatardShow) June 8, 2023
Check out the breakdown of Thursday’s show below.
Local Hour: Damian Lillard
- So...Damian Lillard to Miami, huh? Tony says he can’t watch games at a sports bar, and Mike is completely unhinged with fury at the refs and also calls Dame Lillard a loser. Amin tells us about the horror of finally seeing the Jokic Brothers in person. Plus, we have a special guest here in studio: the Stanley Cup. The crew is mostly overwhelmed by seeing her...mostly.
The Big Suey: Tom and Amin Game 3 Postgame Show (UNCENSORED)
- Tom, Amin, and their entire crew break down the Nuggets' blowout of the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Finals!
Hour 1: Wayne Looks Like Hell
- Mike Bolt, the keeper of the Cup, sticks around to share some of his favorite legendary stories of moments with the cup. Plus, the cup has somehow become anthropomorphized? Dan, Amin, and the crew discuss the reverence toward the trophy and why it’s unique. Mike it still FURIOUS about the refs from last night. Then, Carrot Top is here to discuss the Vegas Golden Knights and Florida Panthers matchup, Wayne Newton, rigging sports, and Meatloaf.
Hour 2: Lionel Messi Is Florida Man
- Roger Bennett joins the show to discuss the soccer world and the world of Lionel Messi! Then, Brockmire is here to discuss what Mike Meyers can’t do, Christian Braun, Saudi Arabia, Messi, and more.
Postgame Show: Thursday Thunder & Cris Cyborg
- The crew cooks up a winning Thursday Thunder SGP for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. Plus, Tony talks to MMA legend Cris Cyborg about her career, her advice on starting jiu-jitsu and much more.
Watch more below!
Check out the Le Batard and Friends YouTube page for more and subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also follow the show on Twitter @LeBatardShow.
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