I was browsing Twitter the other day when I saw that one of the accounts I follow had retweeted a Mexican design for a football cleat made by Under Armour México. The tweet was sent by an account I had never seen before: @LFAmex. So, I decided to explore the aforementioned Twitter account and realized I had finally found my personal holy grail: la Liga de Fútbol Americano Profesional, the Mexican American Football League. Because football (or fútbol) means soccer in most other countries, the league refers to the American version of fútbol as “tackle” football. Regardless, this is a monumental achievement and sign of progress in the world of international football.
Apparently, la LFA is the first professional American Football League in Mexico. Furthermore, it is the second attempt at a professional football league in a Spanish-speaking country since NFL Europe had a professional team based out of Barcelona, Spain. According to the league’s official website, la LFA began last year (January 2016). However, it appears that the process of forming the league was lengthy and strategic.
College football has existed in Mexico since the early 1900s but was not officially recognized until the formation of ONEFA in 1978 (ONEFA is the Mexican equivalent to the college football division of the NCAA). In 1999, José Orobio Rosas created la Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Americano (Mexican Federation of American Football) and eventually was an instrumental asset to the creation of IFAF Américas, which is the Latin American Federation of American Football. Finally, in January 2016, the league was officially founded and began with four teams playing at the Estadio Jesús “Palillo” Martínez at the Magdalena Mixchuca Sports City (former olympic facility) in Mexico City.
Since its founding, the league has added two teams (six total teams) for the upcoming season beginning on February 18, 2017. Furthermore, all uniforms and merchandise are sponsored by Under Armour. Though the league is still in an infant stage, some of its games are televised through contracts with Spanish-language media conglomerate Univisión and Mexican sports channel AYM Sports. From a social media standpoint, the league has a strong following on Facebook (nearly 95,000 followers) and is active on Twitter.
While la LFA is so young, the league has a strong base for future success. From a public relations standpoint, all information about the league and its teams is easily accessible online on its website as well as its social media pages. I suspect that the league is not nearly was wealthy as some amateur American sports leagues, which poses obvious limitations. However, if it continues to grow and build a fan base, the league has the potential to be the strongest international American football league. If the NFL decides to publicly endorse la LFA or even partner with the league in the future, do not be surprised if outlets such as ESPN Deportes or Fox Deportes begin covering and televising la LFA’s games. Furthermore, such events would cause a massive rise in the league’s popularity and long-term sustainability.
For more information on la LFA, visit http://lfa.mx/.