|Organising body||Mexican Football Federation|
|Founded||17 October 1943|
|Number of teams||18|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Ascenso MX|
|Domestic cup(s)||Copa MX
Campeón de Campeones
|International cup(s)||CONCACAF Champions League|
|Current champions||Guadalajara (12th title)
(12 titles each)
|2017-18 Liga MX season|
The Liga MX (Spanish pronunciation: ['li?a 'eme 'ekis]) is the top level of the Mexican football league system. Currently sponsored by BBVA through its Mexican subsidiary BBVA Bancomer, it is officially known as Liga BBVA Bancomer.
Each season, the league holds two tournaments: the Apertura, which starts in the summer, and the 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"). Up until July 2011, the league was divided into 3 groups. 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 11th 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 soccer league in the Americas and the third largest crowds of any professional sports league in North America, behind only the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and ahead of 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 and Guadalajara have each won the title 12 times, followed by Toluca (10), Cruz Azul (8), León and Pumas UNAM (7), and Pachuca (6). The current league champions are Guadalajara, who won the Clausura 2017 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 considered the national competition. There were other regional leagues such as the Liga Amateur de Veracruz, the Liga Occidental De Jalisco and the Liga del Bajío that also had notable clubs. Many club owners were not keen on the idea of establishing a professional league, despite paying players under the table. With the increasing demand for football, there was a sense of urgency to unite all the local amateur leagues in Mexico to progress as a football nation. The professional national league was finally established in 1943.
When the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación (F.M.F.) announced the formation of the nation's first professional league, many clubs petitioned 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).
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.
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.
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. 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.
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 18 clubs will compete in the Liga MX during the 2017-18 season.
|First season in
|First season of
current spell in
in Liga MX
|BUAP||11th in Ascenso MX||2017-18||0||2017-18||0||0||-|
|Cruz Azul||14th||1964-65||72||1964-65||72||8||Invierno 1997|
|América||12||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|
|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||6||1966-67, 1967-68, 1974-75, Verano 1998, Verano 1999, Verano 2000, Apertura 2002, Apertura 2005, Apertura 2008, Bicentenario 2010|
|Cruz Azul||8||10||1968-69, México '70, 1971-72, 1972-73, 1973-74, 1978-79, 1979-80, Invierno 1997|
|U.N.A.M.||7||7||1976-77, 1980-81, 1990-91, Clausura 2004, Apertura 2004, Clausura 2009, Clausura 2011|
|León||7||5||1947-48, 1948-49, 1951-52, 1955-56, 1991-92, Apertura 2013, Clausura 2014|
|Pachuca||6||3||Invierno 1999, Invierno 2001, Apertura 2003, Clausura 2006, Clausura 2007, Clausura 2016|
|Santos Laguna||5||5||Invierno 1996, Verano 2001, Clausura 2008, Clausura 2012, Clausura 2015|
|U.A.N.L.||5||5||1977-78, 1981-82, Apertura 2011, Apertura 2015, Apertura 2016|
|Monterrey||4||5||México '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|
|Atlético Celaya ++++||0||1|
|Atlético Español ++++||0||1|
|San Luis ++++||0||1|
|BUAP||Puebla City, Puebla||Universitario BUAP||19,283|||
|Cruz Azul||Mexico City||Azul||33,000|||
|Monterrey||Guadalupe, Nuevo León||BBVA Bancomer||53,500|||
|Necaxa||Aguascalientes City, Aguascalientes||Victoria||25,500|||
|Puebla||Puebla City, Puebla||Cuauhtémoc||51,726|||
|Querétaro||Querétaro City, Querétaro||Corregidora||33,162|||
|Santos Laguna||Torreón, Coahuila||Corona||30,000|||
|Tijuana||Tijuana, Baja California||Caliente||27,333|||
|Toluca||Toluca, State of Mexico||Nemesio Díez||31,000|||
|UANL||San Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo León||Universitario||42,000|||
|UNAM||Mexico City||Olímpico Universitario||52,000|||
|Veracruz||Veracruz City, Veracruz||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, ESPN in México. ESPN Deportes and Univision have the rights in the United States.
In previous years, when a team got relegated, the team that got promoted could only negotiate with the company that had the television rights of the team that got relegated. This agreement was cancelled in 2012 by the Liga MX 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.
After the Clausura 2017 season, Azteca América sold the rights of the Atlas, Morelia, Tijuana and Veracruz matches to Univision, thus the network held the rights of 17 of the 18 clubs, the only team the network did not carry was recently promoted team Lobos BUAP. In September 2017, Univision started airing Lobos BUAP's home matches, thus the network has the rights to all 18 Liga MX teams through the end of the Clausura 2018 season.
ESPN Deportes airs all of Necaxa and Querétaro regular season home matches as well as select León, Monterrey, Pachuca, and UANL home matches.
In July 2017, Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN) announced it would show Liga MX matches involving Chilean players in Chile.
|Team||Mexico Broadcaster||U.S. Broadcaster||Day||Time|
|Atlas||TV Azteca / ESPN||Univision||Friday||9:00 PM|
|Cruz Azul||Televisa||Univision||Saturday||5:00 PM|
|Guadalajara||Televisa[Note 1]||Univision||Saturday||9:06 PM|
|León||Grupo Imagen / Fox Sports / Claro||ESPN Deportes / Univision||Saturday||7:06 PM|
|Monterrey||Televisa||ESPN Deportes / Univision||Saturday||7:00 PM|
|Morelia||TV Azteca / ESPN[Note 2]||Univision||Friday||7:00 PM|
|Necaxa||Televisa||ESPN Deportes / Univision||Saturday||9:00 PM|
|Pachuca||Grupo Imagen / Fox Sports / Claro||ESPN Deportes / Univision||Saturday||7:06 PM|
|Puebla||TV Azteca / ESPN[Note 2]||Univision||Friday||7:00 PM|
|Querétaro||Grupo Imagen||ESPN Deportes / Univision||Saturday||5:00 PM|
|Santos Laguna||TV Azteca / ESPN||Univision||Sunday||6:30 PM|
|Tijuana||TV Azteca / ESPN[Note 2]||Univision||Friday||7:00 PM|
|UANL||Televisa||ESPN Deportes / Univision||Saturday||7:00 PM|
|Veracruz||TV Azteca / ESPN[Note 2]||Univision||Sunday||6:30 PM|
Up until its re-branding 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 eighteen clubs and to be invested in each club's youth teams. On 18 September 2015, it was announced that the sponsorship deal was extended until 2019.
The current managers in the Liga MX are:
|Nat.||Name||Club||Appointed||Time as manager|
|Ferretti, RicardoRicardo Ferretti||UANL||20 May 2010||7 years, 185 days|
|Alonso, DiegoDiego Alonso||Pachuca||5 December 2014||2 years, 351 days|
|Mohamed, AntonioAntonio Mohamed||Monterrey||16 February 2015||2 years, 278 days|
|Almeyda, MatíasMatías Almeyda||Guadalajara||15 September 2015||2 years, 67 days|
|Cruz, José GuadalupeJosé Guadalupe Cruz||Atlas||9 May 2016||1 year, 196 days|
|Cristante, HernánHernán Cristante||Toluca||31 May 2016||1 year, 174 days|
|Puente, Jr., RafaelRafael Puente, Jr.||BUAP||5 October 2016||1 year, 47 days|
|Jémez, PacoPaco Jémez||Cruz Azul||28 November 2016||358 days|
|Hernández, RobertoRoberto Hernández||Morelia||7 February 2017||287 days|
|Ambríz, IgnacioIgnacio Ambríz||Necaxa||15 May 2017||190 days|
|Herrera, MiguelMiguel Herrera||América||26 May 2017||179 days|
|Díaz, GustavoGustavo Díaz||León||30 August 2017||83 days|
|Siboldi, RobertRobert Siboldi||Santos Laguna||18 September 2017||64 days|
|Cardozo, JoséJosé Cardozo||Veracruz||23 September 2017||59 days|
|Meza, EnriqueEnrique Meza||Puebla||3 October 2017||49 days|
|Patiño, DavidDavid Patiño||UNAM||3 October 2017||49 days|
|Luis Fernando Tena||Querétaro||22 October 2017||30 days|
|Torres Ortíz, DiegoDiego Torres Ortíz||Tijuana||31 October 2017||21 days|
|6||Juan Pablo Rodríguez||634|
|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)||4 (1951-52, 1978-79, 1997-98, 2007-08)|
|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)|
|U.A.N.L.||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)|
|U.A.T.||1 (1986-87)||1 (1994-95)|
|Atlético Potosino||1 (1974-75)||1 (1988-89)|
|Ciudad Juárez||1 (2007-08)||1 (2009-10)|
|Toros Neza||1 (1988-89)||1 (1999-00)|
|U.A.G.||1 (1974-75)||1 (2011-12)|
|U.D.G.||1 (2013-14)||1 (2014-15)|