Barcelona star Lionel Messi has already conquered the football world, so now he’s moving on to the…theme park world? In partnership with Chinese broadcaster Phoenix Group and Spanish media conglomerate Group Mediapro, Messi and his team have teamed up to create The Messi Experience Park. Yes, it’s a theme park about Messi himself.
The park is set to open its doors in 2019 in Nanjing, China. There will be 20 attractions offered, spread out over 500,000 square feet of indoor space and 130,000 square feet of outdoor space. Messi’s park will use a mix of virtual and augmented reality technology to offer football training clinics, entertainment activities, and exhibits featuring some of Messi’s career highlights.
The Chinese firm involved with the project is looking to push boundaries in order to set up a state of the art experience for guests. The park will have “the most cutting-edge technology, enabling visitors to immerse themselves in all things Messi by combining the latest-generation attractions with the very best advances in content and multimedia attractions,” according to Phoenix Group.
The 29-year-old Argentine superstar hopes to be an integral piece in popularizing football to young Chinese kids. “I hope to provide them the experience they never had before, and to inspire them to pick up the sport early on,” Messi said. “Hopefully, they will feel that I am around when visiting the park.”
China’s theme park industry is a rapidly expanding market, and the country could become the world leader in the sector in three years’ time, with potential revenues of over $12 billion, which would put it ahead of the United States and Japan, per World Travel Market and Euromonitor.