It's one of the oldest marketing tricks in the biz.
Do you have a product that might be losing some of its luster (i.e. market share)? Nothing a little new packaging and new branding can't fix, right?
The deciders in Mexican soccer had seen enough. Declining ratings (both in Mexico and the US) and lagging attendance in the stands pushed them into making changes. Earlier this year, we had discussed that a Liga Premier de Mexico, autonomous from the clutches of the FMF, would be formed for the next season.
There was talk of modifying how points would be awarded. In order to extract a more offensive spectacle from the game, 0-0 draws would be awarded with 0 points, a 1-1 draw would get the customary point, while 2-2 draws and beyond would harvest 2 points apiece.
Didn't happen, at least not yet.
What did happen, though, was a new league - christened the very hip and very now "Liga MX." New name - new look!!!
The Liga MX has a new commisioner - Decio De Maria.
The new league, which was to be autonomous from the FMF has in its first commissioner, the FMF General Secretary. OK.
And what of these new changes that we were promised.
From this moment forward, away goals in the liguilla will be the first tie-braker. Lower seeded teams now do not have to win the tie outright in order to advance.
That seems to be a decent change, what else is there?
As far as the Liga MX is concerned. New and improved - now 5% more excitement!!!
To be fair, the new Liga MX will also play the newly christened Ascenso MX (formerly the Liga de Ascenso - 2nd division) in the resurrected Copa Mexico, a 90 year old tournament that had not been staged since 1997.
The tournament will pit 14 Liga MX teams (the 4 Conca-champion teams will be exempt) and the top 13 teams + the recently relegated squad from the Ascenso MX. 7 groups of 4 will play a round robin, and then the group winners and best 2nd place team will knock it out, single-elim style until there is champion.
And then they'll do it all over again in the Clausura.
Liga MX - now with 25% more games!!!
Needless to say, the Copa Mexico will crowd the schedule. So the tournament should afford the top flight teams an opportunity to give their younglings some minutes they otherwise would not get. It will also give the Ascenso MX, a decent league with 0 exposure... well, exposure. Expanding the footprint is usually not a bad idea. The list of 2nd division participants does read, though, as a who's who of recently relegated squads.
So that's the new Liga MX, set to kick off next weekend. Coming up next, the faces, both new and old, that should not only make the new Liga MX a lot more interesting, but, frankly, one of the more anticipated seasons in years.