Inter Miami and Lionel Messi are going to attract record crowds when they face Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, April 13. The noteworthy aspect of this game is that Sporting KC is hosting this game away from Children’s Mercy Park, its usual venue. Based on the demand Lionel Messi brings in for tickets, Children’s Mercy Park would be unable to hold all those who want to see the Argentine. As a result, Arrowhead Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, is hosting this game.

It will be the first time since 2007 that Sporting Kansas City will play at a larger venue in a competitive game. Sporting KC has played at the stadium since then, but that was just a friendly in 2010. The Kansas City Wizards played Manchester United in front of 52,342 spectators. That holds the record for the biggest soccer crowd in the history of Missouri. That record will fall on Saturday when Sporting Kansas City expects over 70,000 people when Lionel Messi comes to town.

Inter Miami has had no issue bringing fans to stadiums, whether that be at home or away. Charlotte FC, which averaged 36,337 fans last season, pulled in almost double that when Lionel Messi and Inter Miami visited to close the 2023 Major League Soccer regular season. Likewise, Atlanta United, which also plays in an NFL stadium, pulled in its biggest audience of the season when 71,635 people showed up at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Sporting Kansas City is going to join that pack when Arrowhead Stadium hosts the Florida club on Saturday evening.

There would be no issue in filling Children’s Mercy Park, something Sporting KC has only done once this season, which was in the season-opening game. However, the opportunity Messi provides means the potential for more revenue.

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For those not attending Arrowhead Stadium, coverage of the game is available exclusively on MLS Season Pass. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. local time) at Arrowhead.

Inter Miami and Messi give Kansas City Copa America, World Cup tune-up

Arrowhead Stadium hosted the Kansas City Wizards for 200 games in the club’s first 12 seasons from 1996 to 2007. However, since then, the venue has only hosted two soccer games. One was the aforementioned Sporting KC friendly against Manchester United. Then, in 2015, Mexico played a friendly at Arrowhead against Paraguay in front of 38,114 fans. That was the last time Arrowhead hosted a soccer game.

While the venue is used to major games with the Kansas City Chiefs hosting consistent AFC Championship Games in the NFL, soccer presents a different challenge and atmosphere.

This game between Inter Miami and Sporting Kansas City will be a great opportunity for the stadium to prepare. After all, this is one of the venues responsible for games in the Copa America and the 2026 World Cup. For 2024, Arrowhead is hosting just one game. Yet, it has the potential to be one of the biggest games of the tournament. The United States Men’s National Team is playing South American contender Uruguay in the final group-stage game.

Then, in 2026, Arrowhead will host six games in the tournament. That includes four games in the group stage, a round-of-16 clash and a concluding quarterfinal matchup. Those games will draw major crowds. The Inter Miami game will be a fascinating look to see how Arrowhead stacks up with soccer games and audiences.