No doubt, the main draw of the year in Liga MX is the Liguilla. But this message appears to have not arrived to NBC/Telemundo, who once again continued to show their terrible decision-making regarding the most popular sport on the planet.
Immediately after the Chivas/America Liguilla game, Pachuca vs. Necaxa was set to begin, but not for the US viewers of NBC/Telemundo. The right-holders to the game not only decided to send the game to their second channel, NBC Universo, but also decided to show the game tape delayed, 2 hours after it was set to start. The channel decided that reality shows Larrymania and The Riveras were more important than a LIVE Quarterfinal game of the Liguilla. This, even when Pachuca is the only Liga MX team they still have the rights for.
Not surprising, this gathered plenty of criticism from fans on social media, and increased fears about what the channel will do with their TV coverage for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
NBC/Telemundo has always had a strange relationship with their soccer telecasts. They have Andres Cantor and Sammy Sadovnik, who many people argue is the best duo on Spanish soccer broadcasting. They also had what many people thought was the best TV highlights show in Titulares Telemundo.
In the '00s, their biggest draw was having the rights to the Mexico national team’s home games and friendlies, even when their Liga MX coverage was spotty at best. Their big boom, though, happened when they got the rights to Chivas games, and for a while, at the height of their coverage, they had the rights to El Tri, Chivas, Pumas UNAM, Atlas, Monterrey, Tigres, Toluca, and Atlante.
But apparently their push for the World Cup and FIFA rights, which they would get for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup, meant losing the rights to the Mexico national team and every Liga MX team. Their only lifeline was getting the rights to Pachuca and Leon, both owned by the same family. However, this season Univision purchased the rights for Leon, and with the way Telemundo treated the Pachuca game, it doesn't look like Liga MX is much of a priority.
It's no question that Univision is the big Liga MX platform. With a sports channel in UDN and the rights to 13 of 18 Liga MX teams, they are the main player in the Liga MX world. Given that, stuff like what happened this Sunday questions how serious Telemundo is about football. To know that while Univision has a sports network that revolves around Liga MX, while Telemundo’s only Liguilla game comes second to a pair of "reality" TV shows leads to many fans to question if the World Cup rights are in good hands. It would be wise for NBC/Telemundo to listen to those angry voices on Twitter and plan accordingly heading towards the future.