Patrick Mahomes finally meets an athlete more popular than him

It was a cool moment to see Lionel Messi and Patrick Mahomes meet each other before the
Portland Thorns FC v Kansas City Current
Portland Thorns FC v Kansas City Current / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

These days, Patrick Mahomes requires an entourage of sorts to go from place to place. The popular quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs is an easily recognizable figure anywhere in North America and the growing popularity of the sport and the team are giving him a global platform as well.

But just in case he ever wondered what it would look like to be even more popular as an athlete, he got a glimpse of the next few rungs up the ladder on Saturday at his own home stadium.

Arrowhead Stadium was transformed into a soccer venue for the first time since 2007 on Saturday as Sporting KC played host to Inter Miami. The presence of international superstar Lionel Messi has made Inter Miami a must-see event at every possible date—road and home—which has led to surging ticket prices (and demand). Hence a Chiefs-like crowd of well over 70,000 to see a soccer match in Kansas City.

It wasn't at all surprising to see Mahomes and his wife Brittany in attendance since they are major supporters of soccer in Kansas City. They're not only minority owners in Sporting KC since 2021, the host team on the day, but they are also co-owners in the Kansas City Current.

Heading into the match, it was cool to see a quick moment as Messi was ushered past Mahomes heading into the stadium and the duo shared a moment.

Mahomes would end up seeing Messi and Inter Miami leave with a 3-2 win in front of a stadium filled with Messi fans despite being a road game. Such is the reality for a player whose very presence can cause major security concerns, overwhelmed fans, and logistical nightmares.

Speaking of popularity, it's amazing to think how much more well-known Messi is than Mahomes even via social metrics. Mahomes has nearly 7 million followers on Instagram while Messi has over 500 million. On an international level, Messi has a massive cult-like following but now even in America, Messi was recently named the most popular athlete in 2024 by SSRS.

There's no doubt as Mahomes continues to add records, championships, and international appearances to his resume, he will become more recognizable than ever. But maybe seeing the mechanics behind trying to enjoy life in any public way for a player like Messi might leave Mahomes grateful for how things are now.