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Carlos Slim buys Estudiantes Tecos

December 17, 2012

The Grupo Pachuca enterprise part-owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim announced the purchase of Guadalajara soccer franchise Estudiantes on Sunday.

The sale of Estudiantes – popularly known as Tecos – means the club will end its historic affiliation with the private Autonomous University of Guadalajara (UAG).

Having increased its stake in Estudiantes to 100 percent back in January, the Leaño family which runs the university has now sold the club in its entirety to the group headed by Slim and his business partner Jesus Martinez.

With an estimated fortune of 75 billion dollars, Slim is considered the world’s richest man. He made his first foray into the world of Mexican soccer in August, buying a 30-percent stake in Grupo Pachuca, a business group in the state of Hidalgo which owns professional soccer clubs Pachuca and Leon, both of whom play in Mexico’s top division, the Liga MX.

Immediately making his mark on the nation’s most popular sport, Slim broke up the Televisa/TV Azteca duopoly on broadcasting rights, granting concessions for Leon’s games to Fox Sports and MedioTiempo.com.

Last month Slim also became a senior partner in Real Ovideo, having invested two million euros in the economically troubled club from Spain’s Segunda Division B.

The purchase of Tecos is a curious move. The club never draws a sell-out crowd, attracting only a tiny fanbase mostly comprised of UAG students.

If Slim hopes to build a side to compete with Guadalajara’s hugely popular clubs Chivas and Atlas, it will require not only a significant investment in players, but also a major focus on marketing to expand Tecos’ almost non-existent base of support in the city.

Club Vice President Juan Carlos Leaño confirmed this week that Tecos will continue playing at the 30,000-capacity Tres de Marzo stadium in Zapopan through the next season, which begins in January.

Leaño and the administrative staff will then stand down in June, when the new owners will make a decision over the future home of the team. The possibility of the club leaving Guadalajara has not been ruled out and even the name of the team could change, with Tecos no longer representing the UAG.

Founded in 1935, Tecos won their first and only championship title in 1994. After a lengthy spell in Mexico’s top flight, they were demoted in the summer to the Ascenso MX second division.

The club finished third in the Apertura 2012 season but lost to La Piedad in the playoffs. They will have to win the upcoming Clausura 2013 to stand a chance of returning to the Liga MX next summer.

Rafa Marquez joins Leon

In a sign of the ambition behind Slim’s newly acquired clubs, Leon announced the signing of legendary defender Rafael Marquez from New York Red Bulls on Thursday. One of the greatest Mexican players of all time, Marquez won a host of trophies, including four league titles and the UEFA Champions League, during a seven-year stint at FC Barcelona.

Marquez, who began his career at local club Atlas, signed a two-year deal with Leon upon his release from New York Red Bulls.

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