Friday, September 30, 2011

LFL to YEG?

Fathers lock up your daughters – the Lingerie Football League is coming to an arena near you.

Word came down this week that the LFL is planning to launch a six team Canadian league in 2012, which will include a franchise right here in the City of Champions! Edmonton will join Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Quebec City as new additions, with the Toronto Triumph coming over from the US division to round out LFL Canada.

“It’s a decision that’s been in the process of review and due diligence and vetting for almost 24 months,” says Mitchell Mortaza, the founder and chairman of the Lingerie Football League. “We considered all of those markets closely and one of the things we got really excited about is, as opposed to the US where you have only certain markets that are great sports towns, almost every sports town we looked at in Canada was just that.”

Of the six cities that will make up the Canadian league, five are already home to at least a couple of pro sports teams, which is something Mortaza says played a big role.

“One of the elements that really stuck with us in Edmonton is really the success that the CFL has had there, as well as the NHL, and the fact that it’s a small enough market that we can make a maximum impact with a brand of this scale.”

There are currently twelve teams in the LFL, with plans to expand to Australia for 2013 and Europe in 2014. That year, they’ll also be launching a tournament for the champions of each league, which will be played once every four years, wherever the FIFA World Cup is being played.

Hold on a second though – what exactly is Lingerie Football?

Well, it started out as a pay-per-view event called the Lingerie Bowl that went head-to-head with the NFL’s Super Bowl half time show. It’s basically a seven-against-seven brand of football with no field goals or punts, where you have to go for a first down on every fourth down. The field is 50 yards long and 30 yards wide and the players wear shoulder pads, elbow pads and kneepads, with hockey-style helmets and…well, lingerie.

Okay, so you’re a little skeptical – the man in charge says that’s understandable!

“Anything called Lingerie Football League that you don’t know about [and] you’ve never seen a game, I can imagine the reaction to it,” Mortaza says. “All I say to those folks is be fair to these ladies, these athletes, and go to your first game, or watch it on TV.”

“If your perception of this doesn’t instantly change, I would be shocked.”

Here’s where it gets interesting: Mortaza says a lot of the women playing for him come from high-level college athletic programs, and all of the women in the league go through some serious physical testing before they crack a roster.

The LFL is partnered up with the company that does the CFL combine testing each year…so if you’re hoping to try out for the Edmonton ________, you better hit the gym!

What do you think: Are you going to give the Lingerie Football League a shot?

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