|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2015)|
|Founded||17 October 1943|
|Number of teams||18|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Ascenso MX|
|Domestic cup(s)||Copa MX
Campeón de Campeones
|International cup(s)||CONCACAF Champions League
|Current champions||UANL (4th title)
|Most championships||Club America
|2015–16 Liga MX season|
The Liga MX (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈliɣa ˈeme ˈekis]) is the top level of the Mexican football league system. It is currently sponsored by BBVA through its Mexican subsidiary BBVA Bancomer, and thus officially known as Liga BBVA Bancomer.
Each season the league holds two tournaments; the Apertura, which starts in the summer, and the Clausura, which starts in the winter. As of 2012, the league comprises 18 clubs, with one being relegated every year (two tournaments) based upon their performance in the league over the previous three years. The top eight teams in the table at the end of the regular phase of the tournament qualify to the liguilla ("mini-league", or "playoff"). Up until June 2011, the league was divided into three groups. The group formatting was removed in favor of a single-table format.
The league is considered the strongest in North America, and among the strongest in all of Latin America. According to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics, the league currently ranks 20th worldwide and was ranked as the 10th strongest league in the first decade of the 21st century (2001–2010). With an average of 25,557 fans attending its games for the 2014-15 season, Liga MX draws the largest crowds on average of any soccer league in CONCACAF and the third or fourth largest crowds of any professional sports league in North America, ranking behind the National Football League and Major League Baseball and about on par with the Canadian Football League.
- 1 History
- 2 Competition format
- 3 Sponsorship
- 4 Media coverage
- 5 Clubs
- 6 Stadiums and locations
- 7 Managers
- 8 Player records
- 9 Amateur Era champions (1902–1943)
- 10 Primera División – league system champions (1943–1970)
- 11 Primera División – liguilla system champions (1970–1996)
- 12 Primera División – liguilla and short tournament champions (1996–present)
- 13 Titles by club
- 14 Promotion and relegation
- 15 See also
- 16 References
- 17 External links
Prior to the Liga Mayor, there was no national football league in Mexico, and football competitions were held within relatively small geographical regions. The winners of the Primera Fuerza, a local league consisting of teams near and around Mexico City, was considered the national competition. There were other regional leagues such as the Liga Amateur de Veracruz, the Liga Occidental De Jalisco and the Liga del Bajío that also had notable clubs. Many club owners were not keen on the idea of establishing a professional league, despite paying players under the table. With the increasing demand for football, there was a sense of urgency to unite all the local amateur leagues in Mexico to progress as a football nation. The professional national league was finally established in 1943.
When the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación (F.M.F.) announced the formation of the nation's first professional league, many clubs petitioned to join. The F.M.F. announced that 10 clubs would form the Liga Mayor (Major League). The first members of the league were founded by six clubs of the Primera Fuerza of Mexico City, two clubs from the Liga Occidental, and two members from the Liga Veracruzana managed by Eduardo Escoto.
- Primera Fuerza: América, Asturias, Atlante, Real España, and Marte.
- Liga Occidental De Jalisco: Atlas and Guadalajara.
- Liga Amateur de Veracruz: Orizaba, Veracruz and Moctezuma.
Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, many small clubs faced economic difficulties which were attributed to the lack of international competition by Mexican clubs and an unrewarding league format. Like many South American and European clubs, Mexican clubs that placed high in the league standings could not afford to participate in prestigious international tournaments, such as the Copa Libertadores.
The Mexican league boom
The 1970 World Cup held in Mexico was the first World Cup televised on a grand scale. The season following the FIFA World Cup, the F.M.F. changed the league format and established a playoff phase to determine the national champion. This was done to regenerate interest and reward teams that placed fairly high in the standings.
The playoff, called the Liguilla in Mexico, was played in different ways to get finalists to play two games that determine the champion. The regular way was by direct elimination rounds using the top eight teams of the table or, when groups existed, the top two teams of each group (along with the best performing third place teams). During some sessions, the best third placed teams were allowed to play a match against the lowest two second places in a repechaje in a chance to be promoted to the playoffs. This was eliminated as long as the calendar was modified to fit with the international compromises of both teams and Mexico National Team members.
Another way practiced to define finalists was by doing two groups of four teams and making them play round robin games in home/away stadiums so they can complete six games, with the top team in the group advancing to the Finals. This was used for a very short period of time as teams found out they did not have enough fight for three or four games.
The change in the rules affected teams that traditionally dominated the table, as talented teams that had not performed well in the regular season were able to perform successfully in the play-offs (Cruz Azul in the 1970s, América in the 1980s, and Toluca in the 2000s).
Regular season tournaments
From 1996 to 2002, the league followed a similar two-tournament schedule called invierno (winter) and verano (summer) but in 2002 to the 2010–2011 season they divided the 18 teams into three groups of six, called group one, group two, and group three. They remained in their respective groups throughout the two tournaments played that season. The qualification phase of the tournament lasted 17 weeks, with all teams playing each other once per tournament in a home and away series over both tournaments. The top two teams from each group and the two best third place teams qualified to reach the liguilla.
Liga MX is a single table of 18 teams that play two annual tournaments resulting in two champions per season. The season opens with the apertura tournament (opening tournament- running from July to December) followed by the clausura (closing - running from January to May). This format matches other Latin American schedules and correspond with FIFA's world footballing calendar, which "opens" in July/August and "closes" in April/May of the next year. Each team plays a different team each week, accruing points for wins and ties over the 17 week tournament. Based on these points, the top eight teams reach the liguilla phase of the respective tournament where a new champion is crowned.
The liguilla (Spanish for "little league") is the playoff phase of the tournament. This phase starts with eight qualifying teams and is played in the "tie" format in two-leg aggregate-score, similar to the quarterfinals and semifinals of the UEFA Champions League. The Elimination bracket goes from an 8 team quarterfinal, to a 4 team semifinal, and a final. The Champion team is awarded the First division trophy, and the runner up is awarded a smaller version of the trophy as well. Each player receives a medal respective to their team's placement. The birth of La liguilla in 1970, modernized the league despite the disagreements between the traditionalists and the modernists. Clubs that were near bankruptcy were now better able to compete and generate profits.
At the end of a season, after the Apertura and Clausura tournaments, one team is relegated to the next lower division, Ascenso MX, and one team from that division is promoted and takes the place left open by the relegated team. Currently, the relegated team is determined by computing the points-per-game-played ratio for each team, considering all the games played by the team during the last three seasons (six tournaments). The team with the lowest ratio is relegated. For teams recently promoted, only the games played since their promotion are considered (two or four tournaments). The team promoted from Ascenso MX is the winner of a two-leg match between the champions of the Apertura and Clausura tournaments of that division. If a team becomes the champion in both tournaments, it is automatically promoted.
CONCACAF Champions League Qualification
Each year, four teams from Liga MX qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League, the premier North American club competition. Generally, the Apertura and Clausura champions and the Apertura and Clausura runners-up qualify, and are placed in Pot 3. Should one or more teams reach the finals of both tournaments, Liga MX has implemented a formula for ensuring that both pots have one team that qualifies via the Apertura and one team that qualifies via the Clausura:
- If the same two teams qualify for the finals of both tournaments, those two teams will qualify along with the non-finalists with the best record in both the Apertura and Clausura.
- If the same team wins both the Apertura and the Clausura (facing two different teams in the finals of each tournament), then the berth reserved for the Clausura champions is passed to the Clausura runners-up and the berth reserved for the Clausura runners-up is passed to the non-finalists with best record in the Clausura. This occurred most recently in the 2013–14 season (2014–15 CONCACAF Champions League) when León (2013 Apertura and 2014 Clausura champions) and Pachuca (2014 Clausura runners-up) were placed in Pot A, while América (2013 Apertura runners-up) and Cruz Azul (non-finalists with the best record in the 2014 Clausura) were placed in Pot B (at the time, the champions and runners-up were placed in different pots).
- If the Apertura runners-up win the Clausura (facing two different teams in the finals of each tournament), then the berth reserved for the Apertura runners-up is passed to the non-finalists with best record in the Apertura. This occurred most recently in the 2011–12 season (2012–13 CONCACAF Champions League) when UANL (2011 Apertura champions) and Santos Laguna (2011 Apertura runners-up and 2012 Clausura champions) were placed in Pot A, while Guadalajara (non-finalists with the best record in the 2011 Apertura) and Monterrey (2012 Clausura runners-up) were placed in Pot B (again, at the time, the champions and runners-up were placed in different pots).
Copa Libertadores Qualification
Each season, three Liga MX teams qualify for the Copa Libertadores, the premier club tournament for CONMEBOL, the South American football federation. The two teams with the best record in the Apertura excluding any team participating in that season's CONCACAF Champions League qualify for the second stage of the tournament. The Supercopa MX champions qualify for the first stage. Should the Supercopa MX champions qualify via the Apertura, the third best eligible team in the Apertura will qualify instead. If the Supercopa MX champions are ineligible due to their participation in the CONCACAF Champions League, the Supercopa MX runners-up will qualify in their place.
In theory, all First Division clubs have the right to sell their own broadcast rights. In practice, however, the league is divided between teams broadcast on Televisa, TV Azteca, Fox Sports, ESPN and TVC Deportes in México versus those broadcast on ESPN Deportes, Telemundo, and Univision in the United States. ESPN also owns English broadcast rights in the United States.
In previous years, when a team got relegated, the team that got promoted could only negotiate with the company that had the television rights of the team that got relegated. This agreement was cancelled in 2012 by the Liga MX when the promotion of Club León caused a television rights dispute with Televisa. Currently, Club León matches are broadcast in Mexico by Fox Sports and other online media sites, and in the United States by Telemundo.
On July 17, 2015 Dorados de Sinaloa announced a TV broadcast partnership with TVC Deportes. TVC is to air Sinaloa's 2015-2016 season home matches.
Telelatino and Fox Sports World hold broadcasting rights in Canada; Fox Sports is the only network that holds rights to broadcast selected matches in United States and South America. Additionally, Televisa-owned networks Sky Sports and TDN hold exclusive broadcasting rights over selected matches throughout the regular season, although the majority of the most important ones are broadcast live on the national networks.
Most of the Saturday afternoon and evening matches broadcast by Televisa are shown primarily on Gala TV, though Saturday games played by Televisa's club America, are broadcast on Televisa's flagship network, Canal de las Estrellas. However, a blackout policy is usually applied in selected markets where affiliates are forced to air alternate programming during the matches, Sunday noon and afternoon games broadcast by Televisa are shown on Canal de las Estrellas. All of the games broadcast by TV Azteca on Saturday and Sunday are shown on Azteca 13; Friday's matches however are shown on Azteca 7. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (known in Mexico as Fecha Doble or Double Date) matches picked by the national networks are shown on Canal 5 and Azteca 7 and the rest of the matches air on Sky Sports and TDN.
A recent rule, in effect since 2011, requires teams to play the final game of every season on Sunday during prime time, regardless of whether the team used to play local games in another timeslot, in order to capture more television audience during the game.
In the United States, Univision holds the rights to the home games of América, Chiapas, Cruz Azul, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Querétaro, Toluca, UANL, UNAM and Veracruz. Azteca airs Atlas, Morelia, Santos Laguna, and Tijuana home games. Telemundo has Pachuca and León home games. ESPN Deportes shows Dorados de Sinaloa home matches.
Home matches broadcast rights
|Team||Mexico Broadcaster||United States Broadcaster||Day||Time*|
|Atlas||TV Azteca / ESPN||Azteca||Saturday||8:30 PM|
|Cruz Azul||Televisa||Univision||Saturday||5:00 PM|
|León||Fox Sports / Claro Sports||Telemundo||Saturday||8:06 PM|
|Morelia||TV Azteca||Azteca||Saturday||8:30 PM|
|Pachuca||Fox Sports / Claro Sports||Telemundo||Saturday||8:06 PM|
|Querétaro||TV Azteca||Univision||Friday||7:30 PM|
|Santos Laguna||TV Azteca / ESPN||Azteca||Friday||9:30 PM|
|Sinaloa||TVC Deportes||ESPN Deportes / Estrella TV||Saturday||8:00 PM|
|Tijuana||TV Azteca||Azteca||Friday||7:30 PM|
|Veracruz||TV Azteca||Univision||Friday||7:30 PM|
- (*) All match times are UTC−06:00 except for matches in Sinaloa (UTC−07:00) and Tijuana (UTC−08:00).
The following 18 clubs will compete in Liga MX during the 2015–16 season.
|First season in
in top division
|First season of
current spell in
in Liga MX
|Cruz Azul||10th||1964–65||71||1964–65||71||8||Invierno 1997|
|Santos Laguna||7th||1988–89||45||1988–89||45||5||Clausura 2015|
|Sinaloa||7th in the Ascenso MX||2004-05||5||2015–16||1||0||-|
|UANL||1st||1974–75||58||1997–98||35||4||Apertura 2015 (current)|
Stadiums and locations
|Chiapas||Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas||Víctor Manuel Reyna||24,290|
|Cruz Azul||Mexico City||Azul||33,042|
|Monterrey||Monterrey, Nuevo León||BBVA Bancomer||51,000|
|Querétaro||Querétaro, Querétaro||La Corregidora||34,045|
|Santos Laguna||Torreón, Coahuila||Corona||30,000|
|Tijuana||Tijuana, Baja California||Caliente||27,333|
|Toluca||Toluca, Estado de México||Nemesio Díez||18,651|
|UANL||San Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo León||Universitario||42,000|
|UNAM||Mexico City||Olímpico Universitario||52,000|
|Veracruz||Veracruz, Veracruz||Luis "Pirata" Fuente||28,703|
The current managers in Liga MX are:
|Name||Club||Appointed||Time as manager|
|Ferretti, RicardoRicardo Ferretti||UANL||20 May 2010||5 years, 267 days|
|Cardozo, JoséJosé Cardozo||Toluca||7 May 2013||2 years, 280 days|
|Vázquez, GuillermoGuillermo Vázquez||UNAM||20 August 2014||1 year, 175 days|
|Reinoso, CarlosCarlos Reinoso||Veracruz||20 November 2014||1 year, 83 days|
|Alonso, DiegoDiego Alonso||Pachuca||5 December 2014||1 year, 68 days|
|Mohamed, AntonioAntonio Mohamed||Monterrey||16 February 2015||360 days|
|Vucetich, Víctor ManuelVíctor Manuel Vucetich||Querétaro||23 February 2015||353 days|
|Meza, EnriqueEnrique Meza||Morelia||21 May 2015||266 days|
|Ambríz, IgnacioIgnacio Ambríz||América||26 May 2015||261 days|
|La Volpe, RicardoRicardo La Volpe||Chiapas||28 May 2015||259 days|
|Marini, PabloPablo Marini||Puebla||30 May 2015||257 days|
|Almeyda, MatiasMatias Almeyda||Guadalajara||15 September 2015||149 days|
|Boy, TomásTomás Boy||Cruz Azul||2 October 2015||132 days|
|Herrera, MiguelMiguel Herrera||Tijuana||2 November 2015||101 days|
|Costas, GustavoGustavo Costas||Atlas||27 November 2015||76 days|
|Zubeldía, LuisLuis Zubeldía||Santos Laguna||28 November 2015||75 days|
|Tena, Luis FernandoLuis Fernando Tena||León||29 January 2016||13 days|
|Cruz, José GuadalupeJosé Guadalupe Cruz||Sinaloa||2 February 2016||9 days|
|6||Juan Pablo Rodríguez||634|
|Italics denotes players still playing professional football.
Bold denotes players still playing in the Liga MX.
|7||Luis Roberto Alves||1986–2003||209||577||0.36|
|9||Carlos Eloir Perucci||1972–1984||199||398||0.5|
|Italics denotes players still playing professional football.
Bold denotes players still playing in the Liga MX.
Amateur Era champions (1902–1943)
(N) - Liga Nacional
(M) - Liga Mexicana
Primera División – league system champions (1943–1970)
Primera División – liguilla system champions (1970–1996)
- **Decided on goal difference
Primera División – liguilla and short tournament champions (1996–present)
- * Not Official / Recognized Title
Titles by club
Promotion and relegation
|Zacatepec||5 (1950–51, 1962–63, 1969–70, 1977–78, 1983–84)||5 (1961–62, 1965–66, 1976–77, 1982–83, 1984–85)|
|San Luis||4 (1970–71, 1975–76, 2001–02, 2004–05)||3 (1973–74, 1988–89, 2002–03)|
|Querétaro||4 (México '86, 1989–90, 2005–06, 2009–10)||3 (1993–94, 2006–07, 2012–13*)|
|Pachuca||4 (1966–67, 1991–92, 1995–96, 1997–98)||3 (1972–73, 1992–93, 1996–97)|
|Irapuato||4 (1953–54, 1984–85, 1999–00*, 2002–03)||2 (1971–72, 1990–91)|
|Atlas||3 (1954–55, 1971–72, 1978–79)||3 (1953–54, 1970–71, 1977–78)|
|Puebla||3 (1969–70, 1998–99, 2006–07)||2 (1998–99, 2004–05)|
|Unión de Curtidores||2 (1982–83, 1998–99*)||2 (1980–81, 1983–84)|
|Veracruz||2 (1963–64, 2001–02)||4 (1951–52, 1978–79, 1997–98, 2007–08)|
|Real Zamora||2 (1954–55, 1956–57)||2 (1955–56, 1959–60)|
|Tampico Madero||2 (1964–65, 1972–73)||2 (1966–67, 1974–75)|
|Atlante||2 (1976–77, 1990–91)||3 (1975–76, 1989–90, 2013–14)|
|Monterrey||2 (1955–56,1959–60)||1 (1956–57)|
|Morelia||2 (1956–57, 1980–81)||1 (1967–68)|
|UANL||2 (1973–74, 1996–97)||1 (1995–96)|
|León||2 (1989–90, 2011–12)||2 (1986–87, 2001–02)|
|Sinaloa||2 (2004–05, 2014–15)||1 (2005–06)|
|La Piedad||2 (2000–01, 2012–13*)||-|
|Necaxa||1 (2009–10)||2 (2008–09, 2010–11)|
|UAT||1 (1986–87)||1 (1994–95)|
|UACJ||1 (2007–08)||1 (2009–10)|
|Neza||1 (1988–89)||1 (1999–00)|
|Tecos||1 (1974–75)||1 (2011–12)|
|U. de G.||1 (2013-2014)||1 (2014-2015)|
- 1976–77: Tampico bought San Luis's spot in first division
- 1977–78: Deportivo Neza is bought Club de Fútbol Laguna and took its spot.
- 1981–82: Tampico bought Atletas Campesinos and took over its spot
- 1983–84: Ángeles de Puebla bought Oaxtepec and took over its spot
- 1988–89: Veracruz bought Neza and took over its spot
- 1992–93: U.T. Neza changes its name to Toros Neza
- 1998–99: Puebla bought U.D Curtidores and took over its spot
- 1999–00: Irapuato gained automatic promotion as they won both tournaments.
- 2012–13: Chiapas F.C. relocated to Querétaro rebranding to Querétaro F.C.
- 2012–13: Veracruz bought La Piedad's spot in first division
- Primera Fuerza
- Liga Occidental De Jalisco
- Liga Amateur de Veracruz
- Ascenso MX
- Segunda División de México
- Tercera División de México
- Campeón de Campeones
- Copa MX
- Football in Mexico
- Mexican Football Federation
- List of Mexican football transfers summer 2015
- includes Canal 5, Canal de las Estrellas, Gala TV, SKY México, Univision and TDN
- includes Azteca 7 and Azteca Trece
- (Spanish) "Liga mx patrocinio". cnnexpansion..com. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
- "The strongest National League in the World 2012:". IFFHS. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
- "The strongest Leagues in the World in the first Decade of 21st Century (2001-2010)". IFFHS. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
- "Historia del futbol en México". Femexfut. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
- "América, Monterrey y Chivas podrían ir a la ConcaChampions sin llegar a la final". vavel.com. 5 March 2012.
- "Carlos Slim And Multi-Ownership In Mexico". businessofsoccer.com. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- Fox Sports adquiere los derechos de transmisión del Club Mexicano León F.C.