In a major move, it was announced that Fox Sports has acquired the rights for both the Spanish-language and English-language Club Tijuana home games in Liga MX, the top level of the Mexican football league system, and Copa MX, the venerable Mexican football cup competition. As a result, both Fox Sports as well as Fox Deportes will be broadcasting games this summer after the World Cup.
This announcement, in many ways, is a significant achievement for Liga MX. While ESPN did televise Liga MX games in English just a few years back, this is the first time that Fox Sports has ever brought Liga MX to its U.S. audience in English. This is one more bit of evidence that suggests Liga MX and soccer, in general, are becoming more of a mainstream thing. It’s also a smart move by Fox. To give you a sense of Club Tijuana’s popularity: Southern Californian American soccer fans are often known to travel to Mexico to follow and support the team.
Now, to be clear, it was previously possible to go on Fox Sports and Fox Deportes’ websites and other owned media to follow Liga MX news and soccer in general. That’s nothing new. What is new, however, is the amount of attention these properties will get from English-language and Spanish-language fans of Mexican football.
I write these words during the NBA Finals, where the integration between ABC Sports and their sister property ESPN has been pretty stellar. It is not uncommon that something is said by television sportscaster Jeff Van Gundy that encourages me to look at the ESPN website as I watch. Sometimes I pull up the website on my iPhone; other times, it is on my tablet. Moreover, it is not just the ESPN website I am looking at; sometimes it is their social media. The key point here is that the television experience is increasing the likelihood that I seek out these digital properties.
The key point here is that the television experience is increasing the likelihood that I seek out these digital properties. This integration relates to the Fox Sports move because, going forward, you will have Liga MX fans watching Club Tijuana games on the television, and they will almost certainly then jump over to their second screen to watch replays, dive deep into statistics, and more. This means that brands looking to reinforce their relationship with Hispanic audiences will have plenty of newfound advertising opportunities on Fox Sports and Fox Deportes.
Club Tijuana, popularly referred to as Xolos, usually hold its home games on Friday nights, making it a natural fit for Fox Sports’ weekend programming or get in the way of those who pay close attention to MLS. This is further evidence that soccer is growing as a hot commodity for broadcasters and advertisers, as opposed to merely a box that needs to be checked off.
It’s little surprise that Liga MX is making further inroads into the U.S. Hispanic market, considering that Major League Soccer is trying to align more closely with Liga MX in general. It was recently announced that the first-ever Campeones Cup will take place in September in Toronto and feature the 2018 Liga MX champions versus the MLS champions. There are also discussions about a possible cross-league, all-star game featuring both MLS and Liga MX standouts.
The Fox Sports news regarding Club Tijuana is yet another move that indicates the momentum the FIFA World Cup is presently experiencing. Simply put, it is one of the biggest and most highly anticipated events in the world. The previous World Cup, which was held in Brazil, reached an audience of 3.2 billion people, with the final match between Argentina and Germany alone watched by over one billion.
That’s quite a few eyeballs, to say the least. Is it any wonder that advertisers are keen to get in front of such an engaged, enthusiastic audience? And, is it much of a surprise that Fox would realize that English-language and Spanish-language programming would be a wise strategic move?