Messi visit set to break New England’s 61K attendance record

The anticipated visit of Lionel Messi to Gillette Stadium next month is set to break the New England Revolution‘s long-standing single-game attendance record with over 60,000 tickets already sold for the matchup with Inter Miami, New England announced Wednesday.

Less than 5,000 tickets remain for the April 27 MLS clash, the Revs said. The figure is well on track to surpass the club’s previous attendance record of 61,316 set for the 2002 MLS Cup, when New England hosted the LA Galaxy.

The previous regular-season attendance record for a Revolution home game dates back to 1997, when New England hosted the Tampa Bay Mutiny in a doubleheader with a World Cup qualifying match between Mexico and the United States.

Gillette Stadium, which also hosts six-time Super Bowl winners the New England Patriots, opened in 2002. The record for a Revolution regular-season match at the stadium was 42,947 in 2015.

Last season, the Patriots’ average home attendance in the NFL was 63,018.

Despite fans clamoring for tickets to see Messi in Foxborough, it remains to be seen whether the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner will actually appear.

Messi, 36, has missed Inter Miami’s last two MLS matchups, as well as sitting out two recent Argentina friendlies in the U.S., because of a hamstring injury.

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Miami manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino has said Messi is being evaluated week to week after being forced off in the club’s Concacaf Champions Cup second leg against Nashville SC on March 13. He has stated that the goal is to get Messi fit for Miami’s Champions Cup quarterfinal matchups with Mexico’s Monterrey on April 3 and April 10.

It would not be the first time that an MLS team has sold a huge quantity of tickets to fans expecting to watch the World Cup winner, only for him to be left off Miami’s team sheet.

Last season, with Messi looking set to miss out through injury, the Chicago Fire offered the more than 61,000 ticketed fans a $250 account credit “toward new memberships for the 2024 season — or a $50 account credit for anyone unable to use the new member credit — to all single-game ticket buyers” as an incentive to still show up to Soldier Field.