We know it’s happening. There’s no real secret.
But that isn’t stopping thousands of Inter Miami fans to trek to DRV PNK Stadium Sunday.
No, it certainly won’t likely be to watch the finals of the Concacaf Gold Cup between Mexico and Panama.
Sunday will mark “the Unveiling” where the Herons will officially announce the arrival of Lionel Messi — who the team signed on a free transfer after his contract ran out at Paris-St. Germain.
That isn’t the only thing changing around Inter Miami.
Let’s dive in …
Inter Miami Updates DRV PNK Stadium
Despite only playing two games at home between the announcement of Messi’s arrival and his actual arrival, Inter Miami is making some key upgrades to its temporary home.
According to The Miami Herald, the team has increased security around not just the stadium, but the training grounds and all around the area next to the Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport (yup, the very same airport Messi and his family arrived at earlier this week).
The team is also adding around 100 VIP seats on the east side of the stadium along with new seats on the northeast and southeast corners.
The Herald suggested this takes the official capacity of the stadium from around 19,000 to near 22,000.
You’d think the team was preparing for something big, right?
And, if you’ve ever been to a match at DRV PNK, this next bit of upgrading will be a welcome relief: more food, beverage and merch sales locations.
Right now, there are two places to get merchandise at the stadium — two shipping containers converted to booths on opposite ends of the stadium.
There are a good amount of places to get food and beverages, but adding more should cut down on wait times … especially since home matches are pretty much sold out for the remainder of the season.
Messi Changes Practice and Coverage for Inter
When covering college football, attending practice was a great place to get inside info from players and coaches … so long as the practices were open.
For Inter Miami, practices are pretty ho hum. Not much in the way of media attendance … at least until this week.
Herald reporter Michelle Kauffman said that since the first week of July, local, national and international media have swarmed the team’s practice facility in hopes of catching a glimpse of Messi.
His official arrival didn’t happen until Tuesday when he and his family touched down in a private jet at the Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport.
It speaks to Messi’s mentality to not land at Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International and face a massive rush of fans and onlookers, but rather land at a small regional airport amid very little fanfare.
That said, the Herald reported helicopters flying overhead when Messi touched down and different camera crews have literally stalked Commercial Blvd. in hopes of seeing Messi arrive or depart from practice.
Another part of the DRV PNK Stadium expansion is adding 15 more seats to the media section and making members of the media check in before training and run through a security check.
Let’s just say, if you plan to attend any matches after the “Unveiling” it is going to be wild.
Welcome to the Unveiling
The team has planned a massive event for Sunday where they are expected to officially announce the signing of Messi.
The event begins at 6 p.m., but most of the speeches and announcements will likely occur closer to halftime of the Gold Cup finals.
Very little has been released about what all is going on during the Unveiling other than entertainment and “on-the-pitch speeches.”
Rumors are that well-known musician Bad Bunny will highlight the entertainment and that Shakira will also make an appearance, but nothing is confirmed.
The only thing we know for sure is that season ticket holders can attend for free with limited tickets potentially available.
If you aren’t a season ticket holder or don’t want to fight the massive crowd, the event is expected to be streamed on Apple’s MLS Season Pass app.
Following Sunday’s event, the team will begin preparation for its first Leagues Cup match against Cruz Azul — also where Messi is expected to first appear for the squad.
That game is nearly sold out, but it is also expected to be streamed on the MLS Season Pass.
No matter what happens from Sunday, expect things to get pretty wild for Inter Miami as the Herons close out the MLS regular season.