Could Liga MX, MLS Merge To Create Top North American League?
Liga MX President Enrique Bonilla at the Leaders Sports Business Summit in London yesterday said that a combined North American soccer league with MLS "could be the main legacy" of the '26 FIFA World Cup, according to Christian Radnedge of REUTERS. Revenues for global TV rights and sponsorship across North America "pale in comparison to the top leagues of Europe." Bonilla said that may be "something that could be changed with a new combined continental top-flight division." Bonilla: "It's a possibility, a North American league. We have to determine how and see the pros and cons but I think that's a way to grow and to compete again." He added the "main idea" is that MLS and Liga MX have to "grow together to compete." Bonilla: "If not, there is only going to be the rich guys in Europe and the rest of the world." MLS and Liga MX earlier this year "launched a partnership which included the introduction of the Campeones Cup, a match between the winners of each respective league." Plans also have been "discussed to play an All-Star game between the two leagues" (REUTERS, 10/10). MLS Exec VP/Communications Dan Courtemanche in a statement said, "We have been discussing with Liga MX additional ways we can collaborate on and off the field, and we are excited about the future opportunities that exist between our two leagues" (THE DAILY).
TANTALIZING PROSPECT: NBCSPORTS.com's Nicholas Mendola wrote given the relationships between Mexico and the U.S., the "melding of the leagues" beyond a CONCACAF Champions League is "mouth-watering." Mendola: "But how would it work? Presumably more like a super league, though it would also give MLS another chance to implement what I've long-argued is already in their plans (promotion and relegation)." However, Mendola wrote this possibility is "far less attractive" if Liga MX clubs have simply been "swayed by the business model of capping player expenditures and being owned by a single entity" (NBCSPORTS.com, 10/10).