The Mexican ‘Primera Division’ has both a honored tradition and a history of fierce rivalries in dynamic football and international success. Initially formed in 1943 as the ‘Mayor League’, Mexico’s first professional football league consisted of teams formerly associated with Mexico’s three major amateur leagues. Each of these original associations: The Primera Fuerza, Liga Occidental, and Liga Veracruzana; contributed several of the teams now synonymous with Mexican first division football. The league refocused its energy, and trained an eye towards growth following the successful 1970 World Cup held in Mexico City. A first division play-off format was introduced to capitalize on world-wide attention lent to the sport, after the 1970 World Cup became the first to be televised and broadcast globally.
For most of the modern era, The ‘Primera Division’ has adopted a split season format, where the league holds competition via both an ‘Apertura’ and ‘Clausura’ event. The beginning half of the season is held from mid-summer and runs through winter while the second half, or closing, kicks off in January and is contested through the spring.
11-time league champions Club Deportivo Guadalajara, headlines the list of Mexico’s most successful clubs. The ‘Goats’ share the distinction of never experiencing league relegation, with arch-rival and Mexico City-based Club America. Club America, 10-time league champions; are considered one of the world’s most successful clubs in international competition having placed 4th at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. This result along with 5 CONCACAF Champion’s Cup titles, 2 Copa Interamericana, and a 2007 runner up finish in Copa Sudamericana, exhibit the tradition of international success seen by the ‘Primera Division’ club sides.
The league has seen a number of notable names and faces pass through it’s rosters over the years, with Antonio Carbajal, Hugo Sanchez, Rafa Marquez, Luis Hernandez, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Nery Castillo, and Pavel Pardo to name a few.
Regarding international competition, 4 teams from the ‘Primera Division’ compete in CONCACAF Champion’s Cup, with an opportunity to advance to the FIFA Club World Cup. The ‘Primera Division’ also sees invitees chosen for CONMEBOL’s prestigious COPA Libertadores.
During its long and storied history, the Mexican first division has fashioned itself among the worlds best in terms of competition, tradition, and overall international performance