MLS-Liga MX Relationship Grows With New '20 All-Star Game Format
The MLS All-Stars will officially face an All-Star team from Mexico's Liga MX in L.A. at Banc of California Stadium next season, a move that "many have long expected and hoped for," according to Damiam Calhoun of the Torrance DAILY BREEZE. MLS Commissioner Don Garber said, "The relationship between our two leagues is continuing to form." He added, "We're thinking about expanding the Leagues Cup (the eight-team competition between MLS and Liga MX teams), the success of Campeones Cup in Atlanta last year with 50,000-60,000 people and the television ratings really launched it into having us believe that this relationship can grow." Calhoun notes the relationship between the leagues "isn't as complicated as it might have been years ago." Now, they both "see ways to help each other." MLS sees the "increasing television ratings that Liga MX games receive and Liga MX teams have been looking to the U.S. to grow their brand." Former USMNT F Landon Donovan said in the past, MLS "reaching out to Liga MX was a one-sided affair," as the league "wanted the opportunity to connect with Liga MX because of all of the power and clout that they have in this region." Donovan: "What's happened now is both sides realized that there is value for both, and that's been a change in the dynamic" (Torrance DAILY BREEZE, 11/21).
TAPPING INTO THE MARKET: SOCCER AMERICA's Paul Kennedy notes the '20 MLS All-Star Game will mark the "first time all-star teams from two different leagues will play in MLS' mid-season match." Garber said, "There's nothing negative here. Nobody has anything to lose. We all win here." Next year's game will "break a string of 15 straight matches pitting the MLS all-stars against European clubs." The "lure of viewers on Spanish-language Univision is a big draw for MLS." The '17 All-Star Game involving Real Madrid "drew a record 2.1 million viewers" across the U.S. and Canada. Last year's game involving LaLiga club Atletico Madrid "drew more than three times the viewers on UniMas and Univision Deportes than FS1" (SOCCERAMERICA.com, 11/21). USA TODAY's Jim Reineking writes L.A. is a "logical choice to host the first of these All-Star Games given the prominent population in the area of people of Mexican heritage." The new approach is a "welcome change of pace" for the event (USA TODAY, 11/21).