In a move that sent shockwaves throughout the transfer market, Lionel Messi announced that he is joining MLS side Inter Miami CF as a free agent. In a league that has seen superstars like David Beckham, Pele, Johan Cruyff, Andrea Pirlo, and more, Lionel Messi is undoubtedly the biggest capture in its history. The Inter Miami arena, DRV PNK Stadium, will be the place to be in the USA when Messi graces the pitch with his talents. But, is the Inter Miami stadium equipped to handle the attention it is about to receive? And what are the Inter Miami owners’ plans for the future in regard to the stadium?
Here’s all you need to know about the Inter Miami stadium which is set to become the hottest ticket in town-
Inter Miami Stadium: Background and history
Inter Miami’s stadium is called the DRV PNK Stadium. It is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and has a capacity of 18,000. It has been Inter Miami’s stadium for home games since 2020, when the team played its first game there, a 3-2 win over Orlando City SC.
The stadium was not always theirs, though. The Inter Miami stadium is built on the site of Lockhart Stadium, which used to be the home venue for Fort Lauderdale Strikers, a team that used to play in NASL, USA’s second division. They were based out of Florida until the team no longer existed in 2016.
The Lockhart Stadium eventually fell into ruins before Inter Miami appeared on the scene. David Beckham’s expansion franchise was looking for a home when they were created. Being based in Florida as well, Inter Miami announced its intentions to pursue the Lockhart Stadium site for Inter Miami’s first team, youth team, and future affiliate sides in January 2019.
By March 2019, they had the approval of the Fort Lauderdale City Commission and by April, Inter Miami had been given clearance to begin reconstruction work at the site.
The team then announced that their first home game at the new stadium would be against LA Galaxy in March 2020. However, COVID spoiled those plans and delayed them by a few months. The first game was against Orlando City SC on August 22, 2020.
However, this stadium was only an interim site for the club. The expansion team was given on the condition that a new stadium would be constructed in downtown Miami. The work on it has already begun. It is called Miami Freedom Park and is set to be ready by 2025.
Miami Freedom Park will be a big improvement from DRV PNK Stadium, where American football games are also held.
Why is the Inter Miami stadium called DRV PNK Stadium?
On April 8, 2021, Inter Miami announced that they had reached a naming rights agreement with leading automobile retailer, AutoNation.
The stadium, pronounced as “Drive Pink” is a tribute to AutoNation’s breast cancer awareness campaign, with pink being the representative colour of breast cancer awareness and drive being a tie-in to AutoNation’s automobile business.
Miami Freedom Park- Inter Miami’s new stadium
Although it is unlikely that Lionel Messi ever plays at Inter Miami’s new stadium, the Miami Freedom Park is still shaping up to be a breathtaking arena.
The 25,000-seater stadium, a soccer/football-specific site, is being built in place of the Melreese Golf Course.
Inter Miami have been given a 99-year lease for the site and after numerous delays and political red tape, the stadium is on course to be ready for the 2025 MLS season.