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MLS, Liga MX champs will face off in Campeones Cup

Match appears to just be the tip of the iceberg as leagues also plan all-star game, other types of partnerships.

MLS Soccer and Liga MX announced a new alliance to showcase inter-league play among top players and teams over the coming years as the “United” FIFA World Cup hosting bid ramps up its efforts to bring the competition to North America in 2026.

The leagues will be sharing best business practices and joining forces on social responsibility efforts in the ongoing partnership, among other initiatives. But for fans the biggest news is the creation of a Campeones Cup competition between league champions and a commitment to combining forces in future MLS All-Star exhibition games.

In the first edition of the Campeones Cup, Toronto FC will take on either Tigres UANL (2017 Apertura champion) or the winner of the Clausura campaign currently underway in Liga MX. The two Mexican champions face off in July in the Campeon de Campeones match, as usual, and the winner faces Toronto at BMO field on Sept. 19.

The last sanctioned competition between U.S. and Mexican clubs was the North American SuperLiga, which ended in 2011 as it gave way to the CONCACAF Champions League. The gap in talent and payroll between Liga MX and MLS has narrowed significantly since then, and the Campeones Cup is sure to stoke the ongoing rivalry and draw plenty of viewers.

As a sign of just how long that game has been in the works, there was a section in the current CBA carved out for it back in 2015. MLS players participating in the game will share a $100,000 bonus just for qualifying and an additional $50,000 for winning the game.

Additionally, Liga MX players will be involved in a future MLS All-Star game in some way, but details are scarce at the moment. Whether this means a competition of mixed squads or a Liga MX all-star team opponent for the top MLS players is unclear. There’s plenty of time to hammer things out, though, as the opponent for the upcoming All-Star Game is reportedly already set:

A Liga MX U-20 side will continue to be the MLS Homegrown Game opponent going forward, continuing the trend since 2015, pitting top young talent against one another during MLS All-Star Week.

ESPN FC interviewed MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Liga MX President Enrique Bonilla at their joint announcement:

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