The owner of Mexican clubs Santos and Atlas said Major League Soccer joining forces with Mexico's Liga MX is what would be best for the long-term future of two leagues looking to enter international prominence. Liga MX is the most widely viewed soccer league on TV in the United States, and while MLS is more popular overseas than Liga MX, Alejandro Irarragorri said there is a long way to go for both. He said creating a North American super league could be one option.
There are so many logistical questions as to how that would work, obviously. First, Liga MX has used promotion and relegation in the past despite that being on pause for the next five years due to the coronavirus pandemic's sporting and economical impact. MLS doesn't have promotion and relegation. Combined, the two top flights have 44 teams at the moment.
But we've seen a growing relationship between the two leagues as they've combined to play in the Campeones Cup and Leagues Cup. Irarragorri thinks officially partnering up for one league could be key. The 2020 MLS All-Star Game is set to pit MLS stars vs. Liga MX stars and is currently scheduled for July 29.
"A high percentage of Mexican football's income comes from the USA," Irarragorri wrote on Twitter. "Their league [MLS] has been growing in an ordered, slow, but consistent way in all senses: commercially, infrastructure, financial structure, diffusion and on the field.
"It's probable that the possible creation of a North American super league is best for MLS in the short term and for Liga MX in the medium term, but over the long term it is best for both and the potential to add value and create jobs is immense. Without doubt it is an alternative that should be explored and analyzed."
This comes as prominent Mexico soccer figures have been critical of Liga MX and of the way it has operated and promoted. Javier Aguirre, a former coach of the Mexico national team and Atletico Madrid and the current coach of La Lig club Leganes, basically said that Liga MX's visibility overseas is nonexistent, according to ESPN.
"Nobody sees us," Aguirre said about Liga MX in Europe. "They see MLS and they don't see Liga MX."
Mexican legend Hugo Sanchez echoed those thoughts.
"In the Mexican league we don't have visionary leaders like they did in England or Spain in promoting their tournaments," Sanchez said, per ESPN. "It would mean that games from Mexico could be seen in other powerful countries in the world. Instead, the United States are smart and do it better than us."
MLS has shown a willingness to grow its relationship with Liga MX, but with many players already vocal about the long travel in MLS, going to Mexico could exacerbate those concerns.