I hope each and every one of you enjoyed the international break. I’m not big on national team games, so I’ll leave the opining on that to others more qualified to speak to it. However, I am very happy that Liga MX is back. This weekend saw some good matches on the pitch and some (perhaps better) developments off of it that are worth noting.
- Two clásicos were almost better than one. Rivalry games are always such a fun thing to behold. Saturday night’s middle game (the one at 8:00 PM Eastern, between the 6:00 PM Eastern and 10:00 PM Eastern time slots) was the Clásico Tapatio between Chivas and Atlas, followed by the Clásico Capitalino between América and Pumas. The fans were extra hyped because of the rivalry, with these two in particular having the distinction of being local derbies. The Clásico Tapatio was an intense match, with Chivas starting to play well under Tómas Boy (I can’t believe I typed that) and Atlas sitting in sixth place at the start of the week. Chivas got the lone goal from Alexis Vega, who inexplicably pulled his pants down in celebration.
— CHIVAS (@Chivas) September 15, 2019
The Clásico Capitalino was… much less dramatic. América went down a player early when Francisco Cordova was sent off in the 17th minute, but played like they were up a player for most of the match. Federico Viñas gave América the lead in the 77th minute, but it was equalized in the 80th by Bryan Mendoza. América is starting to put everything together and that’s bad news for the rest of the league. Pumas on the other hand has to be worried. If they can’t beat their cross-town rivals while up a player for 73 minutes then some hard questions need to be asked.
- Chivas’ YouTube stream is decent to watch. It might be because I’m a Generation X’er, but I’ve always thought YouTube as a much lesser option than actual broadcast television. Case in point: even I could start a YouTube channel and I’m a nobody, and being a nobody is exactly why I don’t have my own television show on an actual channel. But I watched the Clásico Tapatio on Chivas’ YouTube channel and was pleasantly surprised. The video quality wasn’t far from what you’d get from TUDN or FOX Deportes, and Chivas had their own in-house English-language broadcasters calling the match. The announcers were pretty good too, with just the right amount of homerism: not so dispassionate that it sucks all of the fun out of it, but not so over-the-top for Chivas that it was obnoxious.It remains to be seen if this will be a viable option long-term for Chivas though. Their games are broadcast on TUDN in Mexico, so it’s wholly unclear why they’re not on TUDN in the United States as well. They can’t possibly be getting the same amount of money from their YouTube or ChivasTV streams that they would from a network deal, although this could be them testing the waters again of producing all of their own content in-house and owning the rights. If there’s a club in Mexico that could possibly pull this off however, it’s Chivas.
- Five out of nineteen Liga MX clubs have English language accounts! Club León and Atlas joined Tijuana, Santos Laguna, and América in running an English-language twitter account, which to some of us is absolutely crazy and wonderful all at the same time. Atlas seemed like it would be a matter of time, since they’re owned by Grupo Orlegi who also run Santos. Santos has leveraged their English-language outreach very well from the outset, running a twitter feed and creating unique content in addition to getting English translations of press releases. Xolos needed to be bilingual due to the nature of being a border city. Santos was trying to use English social media to further build their brand in the United States (and Atlas is most likely following that same model). América wanted to connect with the multitudes of English-speaking América fans. León was the most surprising of all as they had seemingly embraced their identity as an insular, small-market club that up until very recently didn’t have a functioning web page.It will be interesting to see how much more Atlas and León do with English-language outreach. Tijuana and Santos do a fantastic job with balancing play-by-play and social media content with English-language features and translating press releases. América has scaled back over the past few months, but with new players in the game perhaps they’ll step their game back up as well.So who’s next? Chivas has people in-house who do English-language broadcasting, so it’s not a complete stretch to imagine them making that leap. Tampico Madero is an Ascenso MX team with a relatively small following, but they’re owned by Grupo Orlegi so it’s also not a huge leap to imagine them following in Santos’ and Atlas’ footsteps at some point and having something done. Juárez would also be an ideal candidate, with Estadio Benito Juárez literally across the river from the United States. This is all speculation however, and perhaps a little wishful thinking. But it does look like the dominoes are starting to fall where these will be less seen as outliers and more like a normal course of doing business as a modern Mexican club in a global game.