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Mexican clubs open to combined Liga MX-Major League Soccer competition

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno weighs in on the challenges Matias Almeyda will face in his first season at the helm of the San Jose Earthquakes.

Liga MX club presidents are looking north to the United States and aren't discounting a combined North American league at some point in the future.

"For me, the similarities that Mexico has with the north [United States] are greater than towards the south and I'm a loyal believer that we should consolidate our alliance with the MLS and make a really strong league that can compete with Asia, Europe or anywhere," Santos Laguna president Alejandro Irarragorri said during a conference in the Sports Anti-Piracy Summit in Mexico City on Wednesday.

Asked if he meant a joint league with MLS, the club president replied in the affirmative.

"A North American league. Why not?"

Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla said last October that a North American league could be "a possibility" and would serve as a legacy to the 2026 World Cup that will be co-hosted by the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.

Liga MX and MLS announced a formal collaborative agreement to work together in March 2018 and an eight-team cup competition is expected to begin later this year, complementing the Campeones Cup, which will take place in Atlanta in August.

And with Mexican teams not currently competing in the Copa Libertadores, Liga MX sees the CONCACAF region as a market to capitalize on.

"We definitely have to make an alliance and involve the three countries [Mexico, United States, Canada]," said Chivas vice-president Amaury Vergara in the same conference. "Attendance at our games in the United States is growing and we have to look for more, even looking for brands as an industry to find a way to unite the countries more."

Alejandro Irarragorri
Santos Laguna president Alejandro Irarragorri is open to the idea of a combined Liga MX-MLS competition.

Club Tijuana president Jorge Alberto Hank stressed that 30 percent of the fans that attend games at Estadio Caliente travel from the United States and believes that more coverage of Liga MX in English would be a positive for he league.

"What we've learned over the years is that there are Hispanic [fans], and also some English-speakers, but also Hispanics [in the U.S.] that want to connect with their roots and want to watch in English, not just in Spanish and that's why our games in the United States are shown in English," said Hank.

Irarragorri added that Mexican clubs should seek to negotiate transmission rights around the world as a collective in order for Liga MX to reach more countries. Mexican clubs currently negotiate individual TV deals for themselves.

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