By Marty ONeill (writer for IL Indoor)
have to admit I was caught off guard this past Saturday night. Cruising
the TV channels with my limited cable plan, I landed on a tape-delayed
Lingerie Football League game between Vancouver’s team, the Angels, and
Regina on CHEK-TV, which is a regular feed here in Victoria, B.C. I
thought it was a gimmick because of an e-mail forward I received in the
past. Secondly, I didn’t know anything about a women’s Lingerie Football
League or a Canadian league. I watched with horror for about 10
minutes. The horror wasn’t that it was women playing football in
lingerie. The horror was that this was a big time production and
everyone was taking this thing seriously, including the gals playing the
game. Here I was watching a football game Saturday night prime time and
it wasn’t the CFL!
off, there were people in the stands at the Abbottsford Arena watching,
the same arena that would make the most sense for NLL expansion to YVR.
Next up, you can tell that the costs to make this league happen took
some decent cake. Last, while the action wasn’t great, it was
entertaining for a moment and more entertaining than men’s arena
football I’ve watched before.
it appeals to women for the spectacle of this type of female
athleticism and men for reasons that don’t need to be spelled out. This
all adds up to more competition for the NLL and other indoor lacrosse
leagues and that’s what’s on my mind and really bothering me as I write.
started to look online for some facts about Lingerie Football. First
off, the ladies play for free or part of the gate (after expenses). The
franchises start at about $1.5 million, I read, much less than the NLL
and I’m betting the Canadian franchises were much less. They have about
12 USA-based teams across the country and 4 in Canada, now in a
have had MTV2 cable coverage the last two years in America and they
have travelled to play exhibitions in Mexico twice and Australia. In
short, they aren’t the rollergals, they have a lot going on and seem to
be building speed.
this sweaty female action spells more trouble for the NLL. This LFL has
a leg up on the pro lacrosse because it has no overhead for payroll and
they are gaining exposure quickly with cable TV contracts and lots of
interest in their brand of football and the girls behind the scenes.
of the NLL pumping out the storyline of “regular Joe” during the week
and professional lacrosse player on the weekend, Lingerie Football can
take that a step further and say these regular Janes play for the love
of the game and a few bumps and bruises but no cash. When you consider
the wide appeal of the sport of football across this continent, you can
see where I’m troubled by this newest competition of entertainment for
our beloved sport of indoor lacrosse.
LFL has ripped another page from the NLL handbook by having the players
do meet and greets with the fans right after the game for autographs
and the like. The games are on weekends and should be wrapped in less
than two hours, another NLL strategy. They play music during games and
have cool in arena props and such to go with flashy uniforms. The big
difference is the sex appeal and who it’s directed at. Research turned
up ticket prices in Regina that go for $75.00 on the sides, $37.50 for
upper level sides and $16.50 for end zones. So you can get in the
building for a reasonable amount if you’re a lookielue and you’ll have
to spend to get up close or bring binoculars.
Seattle and Philadelphia have competition from the USA side and Toronto
in Canada. While the first games don’t dictate attendance good or bad,
for long term I will be checking these markets to see what the
attendance draw is and if it surpasses the NLL teams in those markets.
is an ego check for all of us involved in lacrosse. I have been saying
all along that indoor lacrosse is entertainment and that we can’t take
ourselves too seriously, yet. Marketing has to get aggressive now and we
need to expose more of the aspects of the top levels of lacrosse to
draw in interest from outside our regular fan base.
this week, the Mann Cup will start to unfold in Peterborough, Ontario,
and in about 7 to 10 days it will be over. I predict the good people of
the CLA and the OLA will miss yet another chance to get our national
summer sport covered on a hockey starved “sports only” television
network here in Canada and the Mann Cup will once again be a who-done-it
for 90% of Canada.
At least I know I can catch a good Lingerie Football game in my own living room this coming Saturday night.