Saturday, February 5, 2011
5 things the Lingerie Football League needs to change
For starters, it only hires pretty women to play. So it’s eliminating many of the best female football players from consideration. I’m talking about the toughest, meanest, biggest, athletic, butch women imaginable who already play contact sports and aren’t model pretty.
As a business decision, that was probably a good idea.
But since the sport is not about showcasing the best athletes, it will remain a curiosity.
Given that, it should focus on exploiting its fringe sports niche.
A year ago, I wrote about “Five things the Lingerie Football League needs to do to establish some credibility.” I don’t know if LFL executives read that article, but they’ve made progress on all of those items.
What follows are five things LFL execs should consider for the coming year – things to mull over as the LFL’s second season ends Sunday with the Lingerie Bowl in Las Vegas.
1. Improve the quality of LFL game broadcasts on cable
But the broadcasts frankly were pretty lame by pro sports standards.
I watched the first two broadcasts of game highlights last fall on MTV2 and lost interest. Last Saturday I watched the two LFL playoff games, which were broadcast live, unlike regular season games, which are tape delayed by a week and edited for cable. (I used my DVR and the fast-forward button for commercials and time outs.)
The main problem with the game broadcasts is they don’t capture the on-field action very well. The cameras never seem to be in the right spot to get a close shot. So, most of the game footage is shot from a distance. And when you’re dealing with players who are also hot women, you want to get as close to the action as possible.
The LFL is going to have to invest in a few more cameras and rethink how they're used.
It also hurts that the games aren’t shown in HD. MTV2 on Cablevision in Connecticut is a grainy, low-res digital channel.
2. Use more slow-motion video
Plus, slow motion is a nice way to watch pretty women running in bikini lingerie.
3. Ramp up the theatricality of the sport
The LFL should take a cue from roller derby and portray the players as characters not just athletes. In roller derby, players have aliases or stage names that play up how tough they are. Examples from the CT Rollergirls: Luiciana Pulverotti, Eleanor Bruisevelt and Bonnie Voyage. That's fun. LFL players should have nicknames.
Give the team captains a microphone to trash-talk and excite the crowd before the game starts.
Some of the most buzzed about occurrences from this season weren’t big plays, but a bench-clearing brawl and post-score celebrations.
Wardrobe malfunctions used to be the most talked-about aspect of the game, but that seems to be less of an issue now with tighter uniforms and players wearing pasties under their bras.
Progress? Some fans would disagree.
4. Identify the stars of the sport and raise their visibility
The highlight was getting players from the league on the cover of the February 2011 issue of Playboy and a pictorial inside.
Doing a nude ad campaign for PETA also was an attention grabber.
The league needs to do more things like that.
I would suggest that MTV2 supplement its 30-minute weekly game recaps with a reality TV show on players from the LFL. Show them training and in their regular jobs. Give fans a chance to learn about who these women are.
5. Change the name of the Lingerie Bowls from Roman numerals to years.
This year’s championship game is called Lingerie Bowl VIII, but it’s only the second to crown a winner of the Lingerie Football League. Previous Lingerie Bowls were one-off exhibition games.
Also, calling it Lingerie Bowl VIII is dishonest since Lingerie Bowls IV, V and VI (2007-09) were canceled because organizers couldn’t get their act together. So this year’s match is really the fifth Lingerie Bowl to be held.
Next year, just call it Lingerie Bowl 2012 and skip the pretentions of Super Bowl-like Roman numerals.
Photos (from top down):
Lingerie Bowl VIII poster;
San Diego Seduction wide receiver Vanessa Neff (No. 9) on Nov. 13, 2010, in Chicago (photo by Flickr user Arrogant);
Marirose Roach of the Philadelphia Passion tries to tackle quarterback Ashley Salerno of the Los Angeles Temptation during the Lingerie Football League's Lingerie Bowl VIII on Feb. 6, 2011, in Las Vegas (See Metro.co.uk and the Huffington Post);
LFL players on the cover of Playboy magazine;
Fan at LFL playoffs in Jacksonville, Fla., by the Florida Times-Union;
Chicago Bliss players take it off to show their support for PETA