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What a mess, without Messi

China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-08 07:49

Star soccer player Lionel Messi (center) walks beside the pitch during a friendly match between Inter Miami and a Hong Kong team in Hong Kong on Sunday. [Photo by Andy Chong/China Daily]

A friendly match between Inter Miami and a star-studded local team in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Sunday left fans distraught, as there was no sign of their idol Lionel Messi, who was supposed to play in the match.

It looks like the fans in Hong Kong were duped. The organizers had been using Messi to promote the sale of tickets, but they never said that Messi's presence was not guaranteed. However, if one sees Messi's posters plastered across town it is natural for fans to assume they are going to see their idol play. If the organizers had said "Messi's appearance is subject to conditions", there is no doubt fewer tickets would have been sold. Therefore, the fans are justified in expressing their dissatisfaction.

Even from a purely commercial perspective, ignoring the sentiment of fans is not a good idea. This kind of business model may not be sustainable. Expectedly, the organizers, the team, and even the stars in question suffered damage to their reputation.

On Tuesday, at a news conference in Japan, Messi talked about the incident in Hong Kong, saying he hoped there will be another opportunity for him to play in Hong Kong. For now, one can only hope that relevant parties will take remedial action.


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