Liga MX under microscope for variety of reasons
For the first time this season, not a single home team lost as Liga MX hosts went 5-4-0 in Matchday 6. Even so, visitors have lost just 20 of 53 games thus far. We’ll continue tracking this stat as it might be a key factor in handicapping the playoffs.
Liga MX headlines this week are focusing outside the lines, however, as Mexico’s president spoke cryptically of an investigation into the league and its owners, while Fox Sports created a tempest in a teacup with its broadcasting decisions.
On Monday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that next month he will dedicate a portion of a daily morning news briefing to allegations of corruption in Liga MX. He told reporters the country’s top tax official and a top federal police executive would attend and deliver a report.
Such a bombshell is a common occurrence as López Obrador regularly attacks the private sector at his news conferences, but the country’s national pastime had never been a target. Naturally, the media ran with the story which led off news broadcasts and resulted in splashy headlines
On Tuesday, a columnist for the sports daily Record pooh-poohed the entire matter, revealing that the “source” prompting the president’s attack was a you-tuber who was extrapolating off leaked texts allegedly from the accounts of a player agent who has little involvement in Liga MX. The texts were leaked by his wife amid a nasty divorce case and, according to the columnist, were unproven and irrelevant.
The bigger story coming out of the weekend were the actions of Fox Sports and its broadcast of the León-América contest, a wild affair the Esmeraldas won 3-2 thanks to a late, late penalty.
Hours before the game, a Fox Sports executive out of Miami told the producers to move the broadcast to Fox Sports Premium, the network’s struggling new “exclusive” cable channel.
The problem is that Claro Sports has streaming and social media rights with León so they were streaming the game live – for free. Just before halftime, Fox Sports cut the signal and the 300,000+ viewers nearly missed out on Henry Martín’s equalizer.
The signal was restored but with minutes remaining it was dropped again and Claro viewers missed the expulsion of León’s José Iván Rodríguez in minute 88. Claro restores the signal as the game entered stoppage time only to have Fox pull the plug again, causing now angry viewers to miss a penalty call in minute 90+10, the lengthy VAR review and the conversion that took place in minute 90+15.
Claro Sports – owned by Mexico’s wealthiest man, Carlos Slim – has said it intends to take legal action against Fox Sports which claims it has exclusive broadcast rights if the game is on its Premium channel.
This is not the first time Fox Sports has created a rift with Liga MX. A year ago, the network abruptly canceled its contract with Santos Laguna in a dispute that has yet to be clarified. For now, Grupo Pachuca – the ownership group that controls León and Pachuca, both of whom sold rights to home games to Fox Sports – is in a delicate position now and will have to balance its relationship with Fox Sports and Claro Sports.