Slim’s Billionaire Rivalry Plays Out on Mexico’s Soccer Fields

December 11, 2013

Bloomberg, 12/11/2013

Soccer StadiumMexican billionaires Carlos Slim and Emilio Azcarraga, who typically go head-to-head for phone customers and TV viewers, are taking their rivalry to the soccer field this week in their country’s championship game.

Slim, the owner of the nation’s biggest wireless carrier, is an investor in Club Leon, which is a finalist in Mexico’s national soccer league. The team is squaring off against reigning champ Club America, controlled by TV magnate Azcarraga, in a two-game series starting tomorrow in Leon’s home stadium.

Caught in the crossfire are the legions of Mexican soccer fans who won’t be able to watch because of an agreement to televise the match only on cable for the first time. After Slim’s America Movil  acquired a stake in Leon last year, the club signed a broadcast-rights deal with cable’s Fox Sports.

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Mexico’s World Cup bid a boon for US economy

November 25, 2013

Al Jazeera America, 11/23/2013

Soccer StadiumIn a reflection of changing demographics in the U.S., Mexican soccer is a significant player on American television. A 2012 ESPN poll confirmed that in the key 12- to 24-year-old demographic, soccer has surpassed basketball, college football and Major League Baseball to become the second-most watched sport after pro football. But among all age groups of Hispanics in the U.S., soccer’s anticipated edge was even more pronounced than expected (almost nine percentage points higher than the second-place NFL), prompting ESPN to buy the rights to English-language broadcasts of Mexico’s pro soccer league, Liga MX. English-language ESPN and ABC broadcasts of the last World Cup saw the U.S. team peak with just over 15 million viewers, versus Mexico’s peak of 5.5 million. But Spanish-language broadcasts of Mexican games on Univision averaged 6.1 million viewers, with a peak of 8.7 million when Mexico faced Argentina in the second round. This suggests that in terms of U.S. media, Mexico’s presence in the World Cup is at least as important as the U.S.’s.

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Mexico qualifies for 2014 World Cup

November 20, 2013

Sporting News, 11/20/2013

Soccer StadiumMexico may have taken the long road, but the CONCACAF nation has officially qualified for the World Cup. After a qualifying campaign that could only be described as disastrous, Mexico earned a spot in next summer’s World Cup after holding off New Zealand in a 4-2 decision Wednesday in Wellington, just five days after cruising to a 5-1 victory over the Oceania champion in the first leg of the playoff in Mexico City.

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Mexico 5-1 New Zealand: Highlights; El Tri All-But Secure World Cup Place After Thumping All Whites In Playoff First Leg

November 14, 2013

Soccer StadiumInternational Business Times, 11/13/2013

It has been an unnecessarily arduous journey but Mexico can now finally book their flight for Brazil. In the last of a long line of second chances that have followed endless qualification slipups, Mexico will take a surely unassailable lead to Wellington next week after beating New Zealand 5-1 at Estadio Azteaca in the first leg of their World Cup playoff.

The gulf in class between the sides was evident from early on and the match, if not the tie, had been settled by half time with goals late in the opening period through Paul Aguilar and Raul Jimenez. Completing the blitz in just 18 minutes of game time, Oribe Peralta got a third just after the interval. The onslaught relaxed, before Mexico, through Peralta and Rafa Marquez, got the goals that surely render the second leg academic, despite a late consolation by substitute Chris James.

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Fives Are Wild as Mexico and Uruguay Roll

November 14, 2013

Photo by Flickr user Abdallahh

The New York Times, 11/13/2013

Mexico swept to a 5-1 victory over visiting New Zealand in the first leg of their intercontinental playoff on Wednesday, nearly assuring a place at next year’s World Cup.

Paul Aguilar put Mexico ahead in the 32nd minute, and Raúl Jiménez made it 2-0 before halftime. Oribe Peralta added two more in the second half before Rafael Márquez scored on a header in the 84th minute. Chris James scored for New Zealand a minute later.

The teams play again on Wednesday in New Zealand.

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Mexico Vs. New Zealand: Prediction, Preview And Things To Watch For As El Tri Take On All Whites In World Cup Playoff

November 12, 2013

Photo by Flickr user Abdallahh

International Business Times, 11/11/2013

Mexico will either end a year of unimaginable chaos with a huge sigh of relief or with utter heartbreak for El Tri’s fans and the biggest crisis yet for the Mexican Football Federation. The outcome will be decided in a two-legged playoff for World Cup qualification against New Zealand, the first leg of which takes place at the Estadio Azteca on Wednesday.

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El Tri U-17s once again flying the flag for Mexico

November 6, 2013

Sporting News, 11/6/2013

Soccer StadiumMexican soccer has taken a series of blows over 2013, from the dismal World Cup qualifying effort to the flop at the Confederations Cup and on to the Gold Cup nightmare. Even the Under-20s only scraped through its group and fell to Spain in the first knockout round of its World Cup in the summer. But Raul “Potro” Gutierrez and his Under-17s side has been the beacon of hope once again after dispatching Argentina 3-0 on Tuesday to reserve their place at the World Cup final for the second consecutive tournament, following victory two years ago in Estadio Azteca. This time around, the success has been arguably more impressive.

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Is basketball now a rising star in soccer-loving Mexico?

October 29, 2013

bballThe Christian Science Monitor, 10/28/2013

Soccer may be king of sports in Mexico, but the rising popularity of basketball is giving fútbol a kick in the shin. “We’re seeing a new wave of young people showing great interest in basketball,” says Jaime González Rodriguez, director of the municipal sports institute in Nogales.

Mr. González Rodriguez points toward dozens of teens dribbling and shooting hoops in a gym at a sports complex here in the border state of Sonora. At a special basketball clinic, the youngsters share the court with former Phoenix Suns players Tom Chambers, Steven Hunter, Tim Kempton, and Horacio Llamas, the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) first Mexico-born player.

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Fiscal Reform and the Impact on the “Middle Class”, Violent Protests, and the US Saves Mexico in Soccer (for now!)

October 18, 2013

coffee-by-flikr-user-samrevel1The Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English language press had to say…

Mexico’s tax reform, which was passed by the lower house late in the evening of October 17th, was one of the most prominently featured topics in the English language press this week. A New York Times article noted that Mexico’s lower chamber of representatives approved a revised government tax plan which aims to boost receipts by 3% of GDP by 2018. The bill raises the “top income tax rate on a sliding scale to 35 percent, imposes a 5 percent tax on junk food and rolls back plans to apply sales tax on rents, mortgages, property sales and school fees.”  According to the piece, Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said that the revisions will leave the government with a revenue shortfall of 55.7 billion pesos ($4.4 billion), which will be collected from the oil revenue forecasted. The bill must now be passed by the Senate before mid-November, as it is tied to the 2014 budget. A Wall Street Journal piece noted that the vote was 317-164 in favor of the bill, with the support of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party and the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution. Business groups and the conservative National Action Party strongly opposed the tax increases. Although the reform presented by the President didn’t include an extension of sales tax to food and medicines, it caused a storm among business because it raises taxes and eliminates dozens of deductions and corporate loopholes. The lower house also passed Mr. Peña Nieto’s proposed tax of one peso a liter on sugar-sweetened beverages, an increase in the sales tax to 16% from 11% in border states, and a 10% tax on capital gains also remained in the bill.

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Mexico’s soccer coach says he’s been fired

October 18, 2013

Photo by Flickr user Abdallahh

The Los Angeles Times, 10/17/2013

Two days after saving Mexico’s World Cup qualifying campaign, Victor Manuel Vucetich told ESPN Deportes he was fired Thursday as coach of the country’s national soccer team.

“They’ve informed me that I’m out of the national team job,” said Vucetich, who earned the nickname King Midas for his penchant for turning around struggling teams in Mexico’s domestic leagues.

“I’m King Midas, not God,” he told ESPN. “That is why we are where we are.”

Mexico’s national soccer federation has not announced a replacement, but numerous media reports say the new coach is expected to be Club America’s Miguel Herrera, who will become the team’s fourth manager in six weeks.

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