Due to MLS’s single-entity structure, players sign contracts with the league, not individual teams.
But unlike normal MLS contracts, Messi’s has not been a simple matter. For a legendary player and a potentially league-altering signing, MLS and Inter Miami got creative with compensation to ensure he wasn’t lured to Saudi Arabia.
Messi’s contract includes the option to purchase an equity stake in Inter Miami, and part of the deal also necessitates discussions with Apple regarding revenue share on new subscriptions for the MLS Season Pass service. A source briefed on the negotiations said the Apple deal will be based on revenue driven by new international subscribers.
There has also been the structure of the compensation itself, the tax implications of how the contract is drawn up, as well as things like marketing and image rights. Those negotiations go down to granular levels, like which entities own rights to Messi’s name and the No. 10 for use on different products, for example.