InterLiga kicks off today with a doubleheader at Pizza Hut Park as Pachuca faces Tecos and Morelia battles Toluca. Saturday's doubleheader in Houston features the more glitzy matchup as Chivas and America square off after Atlas-Tigres.
Still, the tournament has been panned for years by both Mexican media, players and supporters alike. Guillermo Ochoa called the tournament "absurd" two years ago as America had played in the Mexican league playoffs, the FIFA Club World Cup and then InterLiga, in three different countries across two continents in a span of about six weeks.
It's taxing on players, the compaints are, and isn't necessarily the best way to determine Mexico's Copa Libertadores teams. It should be, critics say, the best or two best teams in Mexican league either based on records or championships or whatever.
InterLiga thus is regarded as a way to generate revenue and little else - that a Copa Libertadores berth is on the line is seemingly secondary.
Still, while the critics may have a point at some level, their criticisms fall short based on one major factor - attendance. Generally, these games are well attended. People will turn out in the cold Texas and California winters (okay, maybe they're not subzero temperatures but cold nevertheless) to watch their beloved Mexican teams play, and as long as that happens this tournament isn't going anywhere.
Mexican network Sky also uses this tournament as a way to grab viewers. InterLiga matches are broadcast exclusively on the pay channel in Mexico, and there is interest in these games back there as well.
With fans turning out in person and tuning in on television to watch this tournament, what motivation does the FMF have to find an alternative way to determine its Libertadores entrants? Why scrap the tournament at all?
And if there is criticism, particularly from fans, why go to the games? I wouldn't attend an event I consider second-rate and unnecessary, as a fan anyway. But when you spend money on a game or tournament, you are sending a message to organizers that you are in support of it.
So those who don't care for the tournament, who think this is a waste of time and energy and resources probably shouldn't tune in, unless they really do care about the tourney.