Inter Miami’s China Trip Was Doomed to Fail

This week, Inter Miami officially announced its road trip to China was off due to “unforeseen circumstances.” Probably better off that way.
Lionel Messi and Inter Miami won't be going to China after all. And that's not a bad thing.
Lionel Messi and Inter Miami won't be going to China after all. And that's not a bad thing. / Matt Kelley/GettyImages
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Inter Miami Set to Promote the Brand

About three weeks ago, Inter Miami reported it had set up a deal to play a pair of matches in China against Chinese Super League clubs.

The Herons were going to square off against Quigdao Hainiu on Nov. 5 and Chengdu Rongcheng three days later.

The intent, as it is with any club making a massive trip to play what amounts to friendlies, is to promote Inter Miami, the players and, to a certain extent, Major League Soccer.

All the big clubs do it.

Liverpool, Manchester City, Inter Milan, etc.

It’s not new.

And Asia is a hotbed with a massive fanbase.

To be clear, the pastures are pretty green in places like China because the club soccer in the country is so pitiful.

I mean, it’s just not good at all.

The country spent billions of dollars to bring in higher-quality players, better facilities and coaches and went so far as to introduce soccer in schools.

The intent was to somehow make the national team more competitive.

Sound familiar? (looking at you Saudi Arabia).

The problem was that clubs were backed by massive conglomerates that lost a ton of money… not in soccer, but in their regular business.

China’s model became unsustainable.

Needless to say, China… and most of Southeast Asia… has more than a billion potential fans with no one to cheer for.

So, big European clubs try to capitalize on that by playing these friendly matches.

It works… kind of.

Inter Miami was looking to do the same thing. Showcasing the most popular player on the planet in Lionel Messi would certainly draw a crowd — especially fresh off winning his eighth Ballon d’Or.