Global soccer superstar Lionel Messi has helped drive ticket sales across the industry since his addition to MLS, and fans across the league pay to see him take the field with Miami CF. However, now, soccer fans are filing a class-action lawsuit after paying for a game where Messi was a last-minute no-show.

A civil claim was filed Tuesday in British Columbia Supreme Court by Ho Chun, who claims he paid $404 for a pair of tickets to a match between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Inter Miami CF on May 25 — which was set to feature football legends Messi, Luis Suarez, and Sergio Busquets. However, just two days before the game, Chun said event organizers revealed “these famous soccer players would not be attending the game.”

The lawsuit claims that “this is a classic case of bait-and-switch,” noting that the trio were promoted in print, online, social media, and billboard advertising.

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“Using such promotional materials as ‘bait,’ the defendants caused the tickets for the Vancouver v. Miami game to be listed and sold on the primary market at ten times higher than the price of other Vancouver Whitecaps home games,” the lawsuit claims.

Chun said the lawsuit is on behalf of any individual, “anywhere in the world, that was a holder of a ticket to the Vancouver v. Miami game.” He is seeking a full refund for tickets that went unused, as well as partial refunds for tickets that were used — amounting to the difference between the price charged for the Miami game and the average price of a regular Whitecaps game ticket.

While Chun is not seeking additional service fees, order charges, or order processing fees from Ticketmaster, he cites “additional expenses” in the suit for fans who had to travel out of state for the game. He is also seeking punitive damages against the Whitecaps and the MLS.

This isn’t the first time Messi has missed out on a game; his absence also caused an uproar when he did not appear at a match in Hong Kong in February, as well as games in Atlanta and Chicago.

The Messi Effect has been felt since the star’s arrival; Inter Miami CF announced that the organization sold through its season tickets for the 2024 season, despite significantly raised ticket prices, and the team set a new revenue record. Messi is currently under contract with Inter Miami CF through the 2025 season, with an option to extend through the end of the 2026 campaign.