The month after the Miami Heat and Florida Panthers made the NBA and NHL Stanley Cup Finals comes a local sports event that eclipses both on the world sports scene: the greatest soccer player of this generation — and, possibly, all time — will take the pitch for his new club team in South Florida.
When and where is Messi’s first game for Inter Miami?
The ball rolls at 8 p.m. at DRV PNK Stadium, 1350 NW 55th St. in Fort Lauderdale. Get off Interstate 95 at the Commercial Boulevard exit and head west to Northwest 15th Avenue.
Those of you who’ve been in South Florida for more than a minute will recognize this as where Lockhart Stadium used to be. For decades, the big Friday night football on that site involved high schools, running backs and linebackers, not short, dazzling world-class midfielders.
Lionel Messi, the brilliant midfielder who led Argentina to the 2022 World Cup title after more than a decade as the best player in the world.
Oh, you meant the teams? Inter Miami vs. Cruz Azul from Liga MX (Mexico’s top league) in Inter Miami’s first Leagues Cup 2023 game.
Who’s televising the game?
In English, Apple TV. In Spanish, TUDN, the sports network headquartered in Doral.
How many seats are left?
As of 1 p.m. Thursday, individual tickets remained (minimum base cost, $205) for sale direct from Inter Miami for Friday’s Messi debut. But, by 4:30 p.m., Inter Miami sent out an email announcing no more tickets remained for direct sale.
Even before that, the resale market was hotter than July via the usual suspects: StubHub, Ticketmaster, SeatGeek, Vivid Seats, etc.
Think about a pack of your average South Florida drivers, add a bunch of folks who have never been to DRV PNK Stadium since it was Lockhart Stadium, if ever, and all headed for an area designed to handle the car volume of, say, a Miami Carol City vs. South Plantation high school football.
Leave early. Besides, that’ll give you more time for a little tailgating.
Where else can you watch the game?
Fritz and Franz Bierhaus, 60 Merrick Way in Coral Gables, long has been a gathering spot for soccer fans during big games, whether World Cup, Champions League, English Premier League, etc.
If you’d rather consume your futbol with Spanish octopus, foie gras or caviar, you can reserve a table at Seaspice Brasserie & Lounge, which is having a watch party at 412 NW North River Dr.
Of course, you could just go to one of the many local sports bars that cater to soccer fans or check your nearest Argentine restaurant.