The United States, Mexico, and Canada may be collaborating on more than just a World Cup. According to comments made last week by Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla, the three countries are considering joining forces to form a joint league after the 2026 World Cup.
The United Bid won the right to host the 2026 World Cup back in June, and since then, there has been lots of discussions between the three federations on how to increase opportunities to compete against each other in an effort to boost the profiles of the two main leagues for the 3 nations, Major League Soccer and Liga MX. Still, while Liga MX dominates CONCACAF club competitions and is the most popular league in North America, they want to bring in revenue to rival the European leagues. Bonilla thinks a joint league between teams from MLS, Liga MX, and the newly-created Canadian Premier League could do that.
MLS and Liga MX have already announced a partnership and this year held its first Campeones Cup, which is a match between the MLS Cup winner and Liga MX’s Campeon de Campeones, the winner of the match between their Apertura and Clausura champions. Last month, Tigres UANL defeated Toronto FC 3-1 in the first Campeones Cup. They have also discussed other ways to increase competition between the two leagues, like an All Star Game featuring the best of both leagues and even the rumored return of the Superliga tournament.
Bonilla believes that to increase the level of competition for Liga MX teams, the problem they have is the distance they have to travel to play top teams on other continents. ”The problem that we have is distance. Coming to Europe is quite difficult for our teams in getting there, and going down to South America is a long way also.” He feels pairing with MLS to increase the competition between the two leagues could make both stronger.
On the MLS side, more competition with Liga MX will help make teams stronger and perhaps earn new fans in the process. The revenue generated could be used to improve rosters and academies and attract top players from abroad. It will also improve the profile of MLS if they can show they can consistently beat top level competition in regional and international competition. It has to start with winning the CONCACAF Champions League and really making an effort to have teams consistently in the final and winning it, breaking the stronghold Liga MX has held over this latest edition of the region’s club tournament. Getting teams to the Club World Cup (as long as it’s still around) or to other international club competitions—and doing well—will be the quickest way to increasing the profile of MLS teams around the world.
Could a joint league be in the works? Would you support a USA/Mexico/Canada top flight division of soccer? Hit the comments and tell us what you think.