'Bank of Soccer' sponsors Liga MX

By Paul Kennedy and Ridge Mahoney

Mexico's Liga MX kicks off the 2013 Torneo Apertura Friday night with two games -- including Tijuana-Atlas on ESPN3 at 10:30 p.m. ET -- and it will known as Liga BBVA Bancomer.

BBVA's Vicente Rodero, said that the sponsorship reinforces the Spanish bank's commitment to Mexico and promoting sports.

"The BBVA Group has traditionally been linked to the sports world," he said in a statement. "Since 2008, it has been the main sponsor of Liga BBVA in Spain and is known as the Bank of Soccer. BBVA Bancomer is now closer to its customers through a sport that is specially loved in Mexico."

The merger of BBVA and Mexican Bancomer bank took place in 2000. BBVA is involved in MLS through U.S. bank BBVA Compass, which holds the naming rights to the Houston Dynamo stadium.

GOLD CUP NUMBERS. Tuesday's Gold Cup telecast of the USA's 1-0 win over Costa Rica was the fifth most-watched in FOX Soccer history with 484,000 total viewers.

Top FOX Soccer Audience:
1. USA-Mexico, 2011 Gold Cup final (1.1 million viewers)
2. Chelsea-Liverpool, 2011 EPL (579,000)
3. Manchester United-Real Madrid, 2013 UEFA Champions League (520,000)
4. Chelsea-Manchester United, 2012 EPL (499,000)
5. USA-Costa Rica, 2013 Gold Cup first round (484,000)

REPUBLIC FC INTRODUCED. The name of the new USL PRO team in Sacramento is Sacramento Republic FC. The team's logo and colors were unveiled on Thursday, Sacramento Soccer Day. A doubleheader that included a Norwich City-Dorados friendly drew an announced crowd of 14,014 at Raley Field.

COPA EUROAMERICANA ON DIRECTV. The Copa EuroAmericana, an eight-game series of friendlies that showcases three European teams -- Spanish clubs Sevilla and Atletico Madrid and Portuguese entry FC Porto -- on their preseason tours of South America, kicks off Saturday with exclusive coverage on DirecTV. During their travels, they will play games against teams from seven South American countries. Coverage in Spanish on channel 479 begins Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET when Sevilla plays Universidad Catolica in Santiago.
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