The Lingerie Football League is the latest addition to the lucrative niche of sex and sport in America.
The LFL, a 10-team nationwide American football league, features women playing football in their underwear, and will run for a 20-week season between September 2009-January 2010. The league will debut with one game every week in a different league city, for a total of four games for each team over the course of a 20-week season.
The league’s founder, Mitchell Mortaza, a 35-year-old sports marketer from Los Angeles, has organized the annual Lingerie Bowl, in which scantily clad women play for a pay-per-view audience during the Super Bowl Halftime Show for over six years. Now he’s taking things a step further with the formation of The Lingerie Football League.
“You have to be beautiful. We make no bones about it. That’s the difference between this league and the myriad of others,” Mortaza says. “We have to be able to market you.”
Asked if he would allow in players who played well but did not meet his standards for beauty, he answered “No.”
Players will be semi-professional, with earnings depending on ticket sales.
Team hopefuls say they do not believe that they are being exploited.
“They say it’s degrading, but it’s not. We don’t just stand there looking pretty. We hit pretty hard,” said Sovann Wyong, 29, a JetBlue employee, who flew to New York from Boston for last weekend’s try-outs in Long Island. “When they play football, guys wear tight pants and show their physique, their arms.”
Allison Vernon, 27, who works as a personal fitness trainer in Manhattan agrees, although she admits she found the “lingerie a little scarier than the (football) drills”.
“Is it sexist? Probably most people I went to college with would think so. I went to an all-women’s liberal arts college.”
Let us know your thoughts on the introduction of The Lingerie Football League.