VIDEO: Mexico’s only Pro American football league adds two teams

Mexico’s la Liga Profesional de Futbol Americano (LFA) which played its inaugural season earlier this year, has expanded to six teams for the 2017 season with the addition of the Monterrey Smelters and Saltillo Dinos.

The two new clubs will join the Condors, Eagles, Mayas and Raptors, all from Mexico City. The LFA’s 2017 season kicks off in February.

The LFA enjoyed an exciting and highly successful first season in terms of fan support, sponsor interest and on-field play. It is the first professional American football league in Mexico in 20 years. The plan was to expand to six in 2018 but the league enjoyed such huge success in its first year, creating a great deal of interest outside of Mexico City, that expansion plans were moved up. In the second expansion stage, the LFA will reach eight teams by 2020.

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A market survey was conducted to decide where new teams could be viable. The two areas that showed the best conditions for fan support were the states of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila, both about 1,000 kilometers from Mexico City. Monterrey is the capital of Nuevo Leon while Saltillo is Coahuila’s capital city.

The Smelters will play in a new stadium, León Kingdom with a capacity of up to six thousand people, while the Dinos will play at the Olympic Stadium in Saltillo, with a similar capacity.

Over the next few weeks, coaches will be appointed, and they will likely come from the respective regions to generate greater attachment to the fan base.

Also, player recruiting for the two new teams will get underway and a draft will be held in December with the other four teams.

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So in February 2017, the league will play in two divisions with the Condors, Eagles, Mayas in one division and the Raptors, Dinos and Smelters in another. The regular season will consist of 24 games which will culminate in a semifinal and championship final in Mexico City.

Player pay will increase by 30% more per game than in 2016 thanks to enormous interest from sponsors. All teams are owned by the league.

Imports

The LFA has attracted the interest of foreign players, mainly American and many top flight former college players. In fact roughly 40 have expressed interest. The league has set a limit of three to five import players per team but with a roster of only 40 total this will no doubt become an issue of finances and what the teams can afford.

The Mayas won the first ever LFA championship after recovering from a late-season falter.

Watch the 2016 Liga Profesional de Futbol Americano Championship Final

AFI
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