Major League Soccer and Mexico’s Liga MX announced new details Thursday for their newly-expanded Leagues Cup, which will begin on July 21, 2023.
The tournament was contested in 2019 and 2021, but next year’s edition will be the first time that all 47 first-division teams between the two leagues will participate. MLS is describing the beefed-up competition as a World Cup-style tourney.
One champion from each league will be awarded a bye past the group stage, leaving the other 45 clubs to take part in the stage, divided into 15 groups of three. The top two teams from every group will advance to a 32-team knockout round.
The knockout round will be a single-elimination bracket topped by the MLS and Liga MX teams that earned byes.
The Leagues Cup will conclude on Aug. 19 with the first- and third-place games. Both leagues’ seasons will remain paused for roughly one month to facilitate the tournament.
The top three finishers in the tournament will qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League.
“Leagues Cup 2023 is an important step in the partnership between MLS and LIGA MX, and we’re pleased to unveil key competition elements for next summer’s tournament,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a news release. “There has never been anything like Leagues Cup in major professional sports on this continent or anywhere else, and we believe the tournament will help elevate the profile of CONCACAF throughout the world.”