The Chicago Fire has made an interesting move for fans ahead of their upcoming match against Inter Miami. 61,000 supporters have purchased tickets to watch the Major League Soccer match on Wednesday. Many of these fans are going to the game to catch a glimpse of Miami star Lionel Messi. For instance, Chicago’s last home match against New England drew a crowd of about 20,000 fans.

However, Messi is a major doubt for the game. The Argentine has missed multiple matches in recent weeks due to a nagging leg injury. Although an official decision has not yet been made, reports claim that the star will not recover in time. Chicago has issued an incentive to help attract these 61,000 fans regardless of whether Messi features or not.

Chicago Fire targets long-term fans with Messi credit

“While we don’t yet know the official status of Lionel Messi’s availability for our match tomorrow, as there’s never a guarantee that an athlete will play on any given night due to several factors, we understand that many of our fans may be disappointed if they don’t get the chance to see him play,” the Fire said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We realize that there will be many in attendance who are coming to a Chicago Fire match at Soldier Field for the first time, and we’re excited to welcome them to the Fire Family and give them an opportunity to become long-term fans by creating a wonderful, fan-focused atmosphere.”

The club will offer fans a $250 credit towards new memberships for the 2024 campaign. For those who cannot use the new membership, the Fire will offer a $50 voucher for any attending fans on Wednesday. This coupon can be used to help purchase any single-game tickets for the future.

Messi practiced on Tuesday, but still listed as ‘day-to-day’

The MLS side is hoping to see a record crowd against Miami. Their previous Soldier Field record for a soccer game was 41,000 back in 1997. The Fire has averaged around 14,000 fans per game throughout the current campaign.

Messi was available and present on the training pitch for Miami on Tuesday. However, manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino has not yet given an official timetable for his star’s availability. Miami and Chicago are both vying for a spot in the upcoming MLS playoffs.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire