If you enjoy theme parks but are always left thinking they could benefit from a thematic tie-in with a professional footballer, then you might want to start looking into flights to Nanjing, China.
For that, dear people, is where the Lionel Messi Experience Park (MEP) is set to open in the year 2020, as confirmed by the head of the company who are manning this spectacular project. Think ‘Dollywood’, just with more beards and tattoo sleeves.
Mediapro Exhibitions, in conjunction with LMM (Leo Messi Management) and Phoenix U-Art, are hoping to create an “interactive experience” for Messi fans at a cost of €170million.
It was originally going to be a museum, akin to the Cristiano Ronaldo exhibition in his hometown of Funchal, Madeira. However, plans for The MEP have since sprawled into an entire theme park, promising visitors a much higher level of yadda, yadda, yadda.
Speaking to Goal.com at the launch event in Barcelona, David Xirau of Mediapro Exhibitions explained thus:
It will be a tribute to football, not a space for self promotion.
In China, football is growing at an exponential rate, encouraged by the authorities. Nanjing is a football capital here. It is a China-scale project, very big. It is around 80,000 square metres, most of which will be inside for weather reasons.
It will be connected with Shanghai and we expect 4-5 million visitors a year, the vast majority of which will be Chinese tourists.
It is expected to be working in 2020. The project will cost €170million as well as urban investments.
Sounds great, no?
We can’t have a wait to have a go on the Tax Dodgems.