Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank, Messi & Inter Miami honored at 2024 Sports Business Awards

Arthur Blank - Atlanta United

The 17th annual Sports Business Awards were held Wednesday night in New York City, and Major League Soccer groups took home several awards.

Lifetime Achievement Award
Atlanta United owner Arthur M. Blank

Blank has steered Atlanta towards unprecedented success since their 2017 MLS entry, including winning MLS Cup 2018 and drawing record-setting crowds to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The co-founder of The Home Depot, Blank also owns the NFL's Atlanta Falcons and has transformed them into a perennial contender.

In April, the U.S. Soccer Federation broke ground on its first-ever national training center (NTC) and headquarters – aptly called the Arthur M. Blank U.S. Soccer National Training Center. The effort was made possible by a $50 million contribution from Blank.

Deal of the Year
Inter Miami sign Lionel Messi

MLS and North American soccer transformed last summer when Messi chose Inter Miami as the next destination in his illustrious career.

Messi delivered on the field, winning the Leagues Cup 2023 title and earning a berth in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup. The 2022 FIFA World Cup champion also captured his world-record eighth Ballon d'Or award.

The Argentine superstar's impact is profound off the field, both with commercial opportunities and massive crowds attending Inter Miami's matches. Owners Jorge and Jose Mas and David Beckham were all pivotal in the deal.

Sports Team of the Year
Inter Miami

Inter Miami have been on a meteoric rise since Messi's arrival in July alongside fellow FC Barcelona legends Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets. They added Luis Suárez this winter, increasing the star power in south Florida alongside young talents like Benjamin Cremaschi, Diego Gómez and Federico Redondo.

That talent level has Inter Miami dreaming of a Leagues Cup repeat, and possibly more. They're currently leading the Supporters' Shield race and among the favorites to win MLS Cup 2024.

Off the field, Inter Miami have entered partnerships with global brands like Royal Caribbean, Chase and Fracht. Last winter, they embarked on a global preseason tour that included stops in El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and Japan.