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TV Azteca buys Atlas soccer club in $50 million deal

Mexico's second-largest broadcaster TV Azteca has purchased Guadalajara soccer club Atlas in a deal reportedly valued at almost 50 million dollars.

Formed 97 years ago, Atlas is one of Mexico's oldest soccer teams but has been in financial meltdown for several years and has built up major debts, including the nonpayment of players and staff.

The deal includes paying off a debt of 333 million pesos and will also incur 96 million pesos in taxes.  It is estimated that each of the club's 124 partners will pocket around 570,000 pesos (43,000 dollars).

In addition, a poor a string of results in the last two seasons has put the team in danger of descending to the second tier of Mexico's professional soccer league.   

The new owners are expected to inject cash to ensure the team maintains its place in the Liga MX and challenges for trophies in the future.

Despite having a loyal fan base in Guadalajara, Atlas has won just one Mexican championship in its history – in 1951.

Atlas President Eugenio Ruiz said the offer from TV Azteca was not the highest bid but one that "guarantees Atlas will remain a top-class team." 

TV Azteca has promised not to change the team's name, red-and black colors or logo.  

The deal only includes the professional soccer team and not the Atlas Sports Club's thriving youth academy, the Centro de Capacitacion Atlas Futbol.

Atlas becomes TV Azteca's second acquisition in the Liga MX. They also own Monarcas de Morelia.  Many critics inside the game say dual ownership opens up the temptation for dishonesty and should not be permitted. 


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