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In the United States and England, this phenomenon has occurred for many years. How good or bad is it?
In particular, I have never been a supporter of a marked nationalism, because from my point of view one must always highlight the good and accept the not so good of our country or region. One must also recognize when another is superior in some topic or simply is doing things better. In sports journalism it is very natural to observe this, which often makes us lose objectivity.
This concept also applies to the field of sport in organizational matters. Do you imagine the 'Brasileirao' with some Argentinian teams or the Argentinian Superliga with Brazilian clubs? No, right? Maybe we are using an extreme example.
Let's say that we also do not imagine Colombian or Venezuelan clubs -the closest countries geographically speaking- being accepted in the Brazilian soccer league. Up to that point, it is normal, especially since in Latin America the economic situation is not the most favorable.
To specify if in our continent we are close or far from applying an international system of competition is the subject of another moment. The truth is that all the limitations mentioned above have not been obstacles for more developed countries such as the United States and England. Through products such as Major League Baseball, the NBA, Major League Soccer or the Premier League, these countries have opened their doors to Canada and Wales, respectively, to make the national sport much more attractive and inclusive. At least in my opinion.
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On the cultural level, it is a way to get closer to other cultures and traditions, and therefore to more and diverse fanatics. It is also a way to make known to some extent the other country that enters these leagues, through the impressive marketing that surrounds them. All this creates advertising contracts.
Of course, it is something that must be implemented gradually, because the penetration in other markets, beyond the success of some leagues, must comply with certain requirements or regulations of each country.
A good example of this is the United States with Mexico, the Latin American nation that is perhaps closest to entering the US leagues. The Mexican stadiums have received official matches of the NBA, the Major League Baseball several years ago (here also enters Puerto Rico). In recent days, even the NFL had planned the game of week 11 of the 2018 season at the Estadio Azteca between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams, but at the last minute, the terrible conditions of that stadium reversed the programming and it was done on American soil.
Mexico, worth mentioning, has also received valid Formula One officials, so that also this championship, which in this case is international because it takes place in different parts of the world, has included the 'Central American giant' to be part of their story. I say this because you can see that Mexico has already opened up to these possibilities and is a nation that has taken steps towards its promotion through sporting events organized in other countries. This panorama could arouse the interest of other nations such as Brazil, Chile or Argentina to enroll in this type of projects.
Canada, the best example
Canada, a powerful country, has been a participant in the main professional sports leagues in the United States for many years. The city that most participates in these meetings is Toronto, which participates in the MLB with the Blue Jays, the most representative team of Canadian sports in the US.
The Blue Jays celebrated their 42nd anniversary in 2019, have two World Series titles in 1992 and 1993, and therefore two pennants of American League champions. They also managed to get this year and for the first time in their history to the NBA Final with a club much older than the Bue Jays, the Raptors, founded in 1995. Before this achievement, they had only been able to get six division titles.
They were the Vancouver Grizzlies in the NBA, but their history was quite short, just six seasons between 1995 and 2001, without any achievement, they were eliminated in the regular season during those six years. The Montreal Expos in baseball had a little better luck, since they spent 25 years in the Grand Tent, between 1969 and 2004, but only in 1981, they achieved the pennant of the Eastern Division of the National League.
Finally, Major League Soccer, the youngest of these competitions, is the one that today has more Canadian teams in its circuit: Toronto FC (champions in 2017), Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact. Everything suggests that the titles will not be left alone in Blue Jays and Toronto FC, and that the Canadian teams will continue to grow to continue expanding the organized professional sport of the United States to other countries.
The Premier League opened its doors
The Premier League of England was also internationalized. Not only do we talk about their concepts for television broadcasting rights, but also that the clubs with more economic resources and a greater number of Welsh fans, such as Swansea City, Cardiff City and the Wrexham AFC, play in the competitions in England, an excellent market to promote itself internationally and teams of a higher competitive level.
As both countries belong to the United Kingdom, it is much easier to integrate these groups, even though neither Scotland nor Northern Ireland do and have their own leagues. Wales too, but, in this case, their main clubs preferred to emigrate to the Premier League. Although they still do not achieve important achievements and spend more time in the Second Division, they certainly give it a more international taste to the, for many, including me, best professional championship in the world today.
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
Translated from "Ligas profesionales con equipos de otros países: ¿positivo o negativo?"