New underwear league under debate

Fri Sep 4, 2009 12:17pm EDT
 
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By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) - It does not require a great deal of imagination to work out the marketing strategy of the Lingerie Football League, which opened its debut season on Friday.

The underwear-clad female players are hoping, however -- probably in vain -- to be taken seriously.

The LFL, born out of the commercial success of the "Lingerie Bowl', a half-time show of women in scanty outfits broadcast during the half-time break in the NFL's Super Bowl, has ten teams competing in seven-a-side full-contact American football, with players dressed in sports bras and the tiniest of shorts.

The branding is blatant -- the teams have names such as the San Diego Seduction, Dallas Desire and Los Angeles Temptation -- and their websites and promotional material are more akin to those for NFL cheerleaders than genuine professional sports.

The league's founder Mitch Mortaza has described the venture as "Disneyland for football fans" but those taking part say they are serious about the sport and about winning.

"I think it is eye candy for one but it is also football and it is real," says Kaley Tuning, wide-receiver with the Miami Caliente who open the season on Friday at the Chicago Bliss.

"There were try outs for the team and if you couldn't play you didn't make the cut," she said.

"I've seen people say it is a joke and it is degrading and it makes me mad. We are real athletes, for them to not take us seriously, well I say wait till you see us play," she added.   Continued...

 
<p>Miami Caliente's Safety Sarah Kimball waits for a play to begin during practice for the Lingerie Football League in Davie, Florida, August 27, 2009. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity</p>