MIAMI (AP) — Lionel Messi has won global futbol's biggest prize. He'll now be part of American football's biggest day.
The Inter Miami star, World Cup champion and global soccer icon will headline a Super Bowl ad for Michelob Ultra, the brand announced Thursday. A teaser to what will be a 60-second spot shows Messi ordering a beer as he walks up to a beachside bar, and his reaction when the tap stops pouring.
It'll be Messi's first Super Bowl commercial and adds to his massive advertising reach in the U.S. and globally. The game is on Feb. 11 in Las Vegas.
"Having the GOAT himself, Lionel Messi, and the Super Bowl as a stage to kick it all off and start the year with a bang, that gets us incredibly fired up," Ricardo Marques, Ultra's vice president of marketing, said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Messi needs no introduction. The power that he has, the impact that he had upon his arrival in Miami, in the world of soccer and beyond, he's clearly a cultural icon right now."
Messi's partnership with Michelob Ultra's parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, began in 2020. The Super Bowl spot is part of the beer's sizable investment in soccer. The ad follows the brand being revealed as the global beer sponsor of this summer's Copa América.
It's also expected Ultra will partner with the men's World Cup when the tournament is played in the U.S., Canada and Mexico in 2026 as Messi's Argentina aims to defend their title.
"When you put it all together, we clearly have a very exciting road ahead of us in the context of soccer," Marques said.
Messi is a marketing dream with giant brands such as Adidas, Gatorade, Hard Rock International, Royal Caribbean and Apple TV among others all involved with him. His social media footprint is enormous, with nearly 500 million followers on Instagram.
Anheuser-Busch routinely spends millions on Super Bowl ads; last year's game brought an asking price of as much as $7 million for a 30-second spot, with companies paying it to be on U.S. advertising's biggest stage and with hopes of reaching an expected audience of more than 100 million.
The beverage giant had a Michelob Ultra spot as part of last year's Super Bowl lineup, also with a sports theme — it was set at Bushwood Country Club, the fictional country club in "Caddyshack," and starred tennis great Serena Williams, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current TV analyst Tony Romo, Miami Heat standout Jimmy Butler, golfer Rickie Fowler, soccer player Alex Morgan and boxer Canelo Álvarez.
Messi has more than 800 goals ifor clubs and country, among the greatest scorers. He scored twice in the 2022 World Cup final that Argentina won against France on penalty kicks.
Messi is a four-time Champions League winner, an Olympic gold medalist and has been part of 44 trophy wins, considered the most in soccer history.
"The artistry that he brings to the pitch brings fans from all walks of life," Marques said. "That's why we're excited about Lionel Messi, his partnership and where soccer is going in the U.S."