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|Organising body||Mexican Football Federation|
|Founded||17 October 1943|
|Number of teams||19|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Ascenso MX|
|Domestic cup(s)||Copa MX|
Campeón de Campeones
|International cup(s)||CONCACAF Champions League|
|Most championships||América (13 titles)|
The Liga MX (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈliɣa ˈeme ˈekis]) is the top tier of the Mexican football league system. Currently sponsored by BBVA through its Mexican subsidiary BBVA México, it is officially known as Liga BBVA MX.
The season has two tournaments: Apertura, which starts in the summer, and Clausura, which starts in the winter. As of 2017, the league comprises 18 clubs, with one being relegated every year (two tournaments) based upon its league performances over the previous three years. The first 8 teams in the table at the end of the regular phase of the tournament qualify to the liguilla ("mini-league", or "playoff"). Until July 2011, the league was divided into 3 tiers. 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). According to CONCACAF, the league – with an average attendance of 25,557 during the 2014–15 season – draws the largest crowds on average of any football league in the Americas and the third largest crowds of any professional sports league in North America, behind only the National Football League and Major League Baseball, and ahead of the Canadian Football League. It is also the fourth most attended football league in the world behind Germany's Bundesliga, England's Premier League and Spain's La Liga.
Of the 56 teams to have competed in the league, América has won the title 13 times, followed by Guadalajara (12), Toluca (10), Cruz Azul (8), León, UANL and UNAM (7), and Pachuca and Santos Laguna (6). The current league champions are UANL, who won the Clausura 2019 tournament.
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 regarded as the then national competition although there were other regional leagues, such as in Veracruz, the Jalisco and the Bajio that had talented clubs. Many club owners were keen to remain amateur although they paid players under the table. The increasing interest in football would not thwart a unified professional football system in Mexico. The professional national league was established in 1943.
The Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación (F.M.F.) announcement of the nation's first professional league brought interest from many clubs to join. The F.M.F. announced that 10 clubs would form the Liga Mayor (Major League). The league was founded by six clubs from the Primera Fuerza of Mexico City, two clubs from the Liga Occidental, and two from the Liga Veracruzana.
Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, many small clubs faced economic difficulties which were attributed to the lack of international competition by Mexico's clubs and an unrewarding league format. Like many South American and European clubs, Mexico's clubs that placed high in the league standings could not afford to participate in prestigious international tournaments, such as the Copa Libertadores.
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 play-off, called the Liguilla, was played using various formats to determine the champion. The most common format was a straight knock-out between the top eight teams in the table. At other times the league was divided into groups with the top two in each group, often as well as the best 3rd placed teams, qualifying for the play-offs and in some seasons the play-offs themselves involved teams playing in groups with the group winners playing off for the title.. The format was changed from season to season to accommodate international club commitments and the schedule of the Mexico national team.
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).
Prior to the start of the 2012–13 season, the organization LIGA MX / ASCENSO MX was created to replace the Mexican Football Federation as the organizing body of the competition. The league also announced a rebranding, with the introduction of a new logo.
On 20 August 2018, it was announced that Liga MX would begin testing the use of video assistant referee technology. The initial test run will be conducted during under-20 matches played inside senior league stadiums, with live testing across senior Liga MX matches to take place during weeks 13 and 14 of the Apertura tournament. The league will, however, still need final approval from FIFA to fully implement the technology.
Liga MX uses 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. The top eight teams progress to the liguilla for each tournament. If one of those teams is in last place in the league's relegation table (see below), that team is replaced by the team that finished ninth in the tournament.
From 1996 to 2002, the league followed a two-tournament schedule with invierno (winter) and verano (summer) tournaments but from 2002 to 2011 the 18 teams were divided into three groups of six with the top two teams from each group and the two best third place teams qualified for the liguilla. The teams played in the same group for each tournament. 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 liguilla (Spanish for "little league") is the play-off phase of the tournament. This phase starts with eight qualifying teams playing two-legged ties with the winner on aggregate-score progressing. The Champion team is awarded the First division trophy, and the runner up is awarded a smaller version of the trophy. 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; if the team that is in last place in relegation table is among the eight teams qualifying for the Liguilla at the end of a tournament, the ninth-place team qualifies for the Liguilla instead. 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.
Prior to the start of the 2017–18 season, the rules for relegation and promotion changed: if a team wins promotion but does not meet certain Liga MX requirements (e.g. stadium infrastructure and a youth team) the relegated Liga MX team of that season will be obligated to pay the prize money to the Ascenso MX team (MXN$120 million) for winning the promotion playoff, which should be utilized to fulfill necessary requirements for promotion within the next season, and remain in Ascenso MX, and the relegated Liga MX team will remain in the first division. However, if the relegated Liga MX team cannot distribute the prize money to the promoted Ascenso MX team, both teams will lose their right to play in Liga MX and must play in Ascenso MX the following season.
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 two teams that qualify via the Apertura and two teams qualify via the Clausura:
Campeonato Centroamericano (1959), Copa Interamericana (1968–91), CONCACAF Cup Winners Cup (1991–98), CONCACAF Giants Cup 2001, Interliga (2004–10), Copa Sudamericana (2005-08), and SuperLiga (2007–10), Copa Libertadores (1998-2015)
The following 19 clubs will compete in the Liga MX during the 2019–20 season.
|First season in
|First season of
current spell in
in Liga MX
|Atlético San Luis||Ascenso MX||2019–20||0||2019–20||0||0(Due to being newly added to Liga MX this season)||-|
|Cruz Azul||2||1964–65||80||1964–65||80||8||Invierno 1997|
|Juárez||Ascenso MX||2019–20||0||2019–20||0||0(Due to being newly added to Liga MX this season)||-|
|Santos Laguna||7||1988–89||54||1988–89||54||6||Clausura 2018|
|América||13||9||1965–66, 1970–71, 1975–76, 1983–84, 1984–85, Prode '85, 1987–88, 1988–89, Verano 2002, Clausura 2005, Clausura 2013, Apertura 2014, Apertura 2018|
|Guadalajara||12||9||1956–57, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1960–61, 1961–62, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1969–70, 1986–87, Verano 1997, Apertura 2006, Clausura 2017|
|Toluca||10||7||1966–67, 1967–68, 1974–75, Verano 1998, Verano 1999, Verano 2000, Apertura 2002, Apertura 2005, Apertura 2008, Bicentenario 2010|
|Cruz Azul||8||11||1968–69, 1970, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74, 1978–79, 1979–80, Invierno 1997|
|UNAM||7||7||1976–77, 1980–81, 1990–91, Clausura 2004, Apertura 2004, Clausura 2009, Clausura 2011|
|León||7||6||1947–48, 1948–49, 1951–52, 1955–56, 1991–92, Apertura 2013, Clausura 2014|
|UANL||7||5||1977–78, 1981–82, Apertura 2011, Apertura 2015, Apertura 2016, Apertura 2017, Clausura 2019|
|Santos Laguna||6||5||Invierno 1996, Verano 2001, Clausura 2008, Clausura 2012, Clausura 2015, Clausura 2018|
|Pachuca||6||3||Invierno 1999, Invierno 2001, Apertura 2003, Clausura 2006, Clausura 2007, Clausura 2016|
|Monterrey||4||6||Mexico '86, Clausura 2003, Apertura 2009, Apertura 2010|
|Atlante †||3||4||1946–47, 1992–93, Apertura 2007|
|Necaxa||3||3||1994–95, 1995–96, Invierno 1998|
|Zacatepec †||2||1||1954–55, 1957–58|
|Tampico Madero †||1||2||1952–53|
|Real España ††††||1||1||1944–45|
|Toros Neza ††††||0||1|
|Atlético Celaya †||0||1|
|Atlético Español ††††||0||1|
|San Luis ††††||0||1|
|Atlético San Luis||San Luis Potosí City||Alfonso Lastras||25,111|
|Juárez||Ciudad Juárez||Olímpico Benito Juárez||19,703|
|Cruz Azul||Mexico City||Azteca||87,000|
|UANL||San Nicolás de los Garza||Universitario||42,000|
|UNAM||Mexico City||Olímpico Universitario||52,000|
|Veracruz||Boca del Río||Luis "Pirata" Fuente||28,703|
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, Imagen Televisión, Claro Sports, Fox Sports, and ESPN in México. ESPN Deportes, Fox Deportes, and Univision have the rights in the United States, with FS1/FS2 airing select matches with English commentary.
In previous years, when a team was relegated, the team that was promoted could only negotiate with the company holding the television rights of the relegated team. This agreement was canceled by Liga MX in 2012 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 Univision (Telemundo from 2013–16).
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.
For the Apertura 2016, and the majority of the Clausura 2017, Guadalajara home matches in Mexico were not shown on over-the-air television or cable and satellite operators. Instead, they were exclusively shown on an internet streaming service called Chivas TV. As of April 8, 2017, the matches are shown on both Televisa's Televisa Deportes Network (TDN) and Chivas TV.
After the Clausura 2017 season, Azteca América sold the rights of the Atlas, Morelia, Tijuana, and Veracruz matches to Univision. The network then held the rights of 17 of the 18 clubs, only missing recently promoted Lobos BUAP. In September 2017, Univision began airing Lobos BUAP's home matches, thus holding the rights to all 18 Liga MX teams through the end of the Clausura 2018 season.
In July 2017, Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN) announced it would show Liga MX matches involving Chilean players in Chile.
In October 2017, Fox Sports announced that it acquired the long-term exclusive Spanish-language rights to Tijuana and Santos Laguna home matches in the United States, Mexico, and the rest of Latin America starting in the Apertura 2018 and Apertura 2019 respectively, thus ending Univision's monopoly. The matches air on Fox Deportes in the United States and Fox Sports Latin America in Mexico and the rest of Latin America.
On May 26, 2018, Fox Sports announced it acquired the rights of C.F. Monterrey's home matches in the United States and Latin America. The network announced the matches would be shown in the United States on Fox Deportes in Spanish as well as the Fox Sports family of networks in English.
As of the Apertura 2019 season, via a sublicense agreement with Univision, ESPN Deportes airs the majority of León, Necaxa, Pachuca, Querétaro, and UANL regular season home matches in the United States. The network also airs at least one home match of nine other clubs. Televisa also sublicenses one match per week to ESPN in Mexico and Central America.
|Team||Mexico Broadcaster||U.S. Broadcaster||Day||Time|
|Atlas||Fox Sports / TV Azteca||Univision||Friday||9:00 PM|
|Atlético San Luis||ESPN||TBA||Saturday||5:00 PM|
|Cruz Azul||Televisa||Univision[ESPN]||Saturday||7:00 PM|
|Guadalajara||Chivas TV[Note 1]|
|Chivas TV[Note 5]||Saturday||9:06 PM|
|León||Fox Sports / Claro||ESPN Deportes / Univision||Saturday||7:06 PM|
|Monterrey||Fox Sports||Fox Sports[Note 3][ESPN]||Saturday||9:00 PM|
|Morelia||TV Azteca||Univision[ESPN]||Friday||7:00 PM|
|Necaxa||Televisa||ESPN Deportes / Univision||Saturday||9:00 PM|
|Pachuca||Fox Sports / Claro||ESPN Deportes / Univision||Saturday||7:06 PM|
|Puebla||TV Azteca||Univision[ESPN]||Friday||9:00 PM|
|Querétaro||Fox Sports / Grupo Imagen||ESPN Deportes / Univision||Saturday||5:00 PM|
|Santos Laguna||Fox Sports||Fox Sports[Note 3][ESPN]||Sunday||6:50 PM|
|Tijuana||Fox Sports||Fox Sports[Note 3][ESPN]||Saturday||7:00 PM|
|UANL||Televisa||ESPN Deportes / Univision||Saturday||7:00 PM|
|Veracruz||TV Azteca||Univision[ESPN]||Friday||7:00 PM|
Up until its rebranding in 2012, the Liga MX did not have a title sponsor. In July 2013, league president Decio de María announced BBVA Bancomer as the official sponsor, with the goal of modernizing the league's image. De María also stated that the money generated from the sponsorship would be divided among the 18 clubs and to be invested in each club's youth teams. On 18 September 2015, the sponsorship deal was extended until 2019. On 18 June 2019, the league was renamed as Liga BBVA MX, adopting the new identity of the sponsor. On 4 July 2019, the sponsorship contract with BBVA was renewed until 2021.
Since 1986, Voit has been the official match ball manufacturer. In 2014, the contract was extended for four years.
The current managers in the Liga MX are:
|Nat.||Name||Team||Appointed||Time as manager|
|Ricardo Ferretti||UANL||20 May 2010||9 years, 112 days|
|Miguel Herrera||América||26 May 2017||2 years, 106 days|
|Diego Alonso||Monterrey||18 May 2018||1 year, 114 days|
|Gabriel Caballero||Juárez||4 June 2018||1 year, 97 days|
|Ignacio Ambríz||León||18 September 2018||356 days|
|Óscar Pareja||Tijuana||27 November 2018||286 days|
|Guillermo Vázquez||Necaxa||29 November 2018||284 days|
|Martín Palermo||Pachuca||21 January 2019||231 days|
|Víctor Manuel Vucetich||Querétaro||18 February 2019||203 days|
|Ricardo La Volpe||Toluca||4 March 2019||189 days|
|Leandro Cufré||Atlas||11 March 2019||182 days|
|Tomás Boy||Guadalajara||10 April 2019||152 days|
|Guillermo Almada||Santos Laguna||11 April 2019||151 days|
|Míchel González||UNAM||16 May 2019||116 days|
|Pablo Guede||Morelia||21 August 2019||19 days|
|Juan Reynoso||Puebla||23 August 2019||17 days|
|Enrique López Zarza||Veracruz||4 September 2019||5 days|
|Robert Siboldi||Cruz Azul||6 September 2019||3 days|
|Gustavo Matosas||Atlético San Luis||9 September 2019||0 days|
|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.
|Zacatepec||5 (1950–51, 1962–63, 1969–70, 1977–78, 1983–84)||5 (1961–62, 1965–66, 1976–77, 1982–83, 1984–85)|
|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)|
|San Luis||3 (1970–71, 2001–02, 2004–05)||2 (1973–74, 2002–03)|
|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)||5 (1951–52, 1978–79, 1997–98, 2007–08, 2018–19)|
|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)||2 (2005–06, 2015–16)|
|La Piedad||2 (2000–01, 2012–13*)||-|
|Necaxa||2 (2009–10*, 2015–16)||2 (2008–09, 2010–11)|
|UAT||1 (1986–87)||1 (1994–95)|
|Atlético Potosino||1 (1974–75)||1 (1988–89)|
|Indios de Ciudad Juárez||1 (2007–08)||1 (2009–10)|
|Toros Neza||1 (1988–89)||1 (1999–00)|
|Tecos||1 (1974–75)||1 (2011–12)|
|UdeG||1 (2013–14)||1 (2014–15)|
|BUAP||1 (2016–17)||1 (2017–18*)|
|Atlético San Luis||1 (2018–19)||-|