Here's a shocker: People apparently enjoy watching attractive women playing seven-on-seven football. In their underwear. And now fans of the Seattle Mist, one of the Lingerie Football League's flagship franchises, will have one more chance to do so each year, as plans for an annual Pacific Cup "Border War" game between the Mist and the Vancouver B.C. Angels were announced Monday.
The inaugural game will be played Dec. 15 in Kent at the ShoWare Center, with the plan being to alternate game sites on a yearly basis. The Mist, as you may know, play in the LFL Western Conference's Pacific Division, while the Angels are one of four LFL Canada teams to debut this year. The LFL Canada is currently in Week Five of its first season.
While the Lingerie Football League had its doubters when it first hit the scene back in 2009, the league's growth since that time has proven that while it might be easy to make fun of the sport that seems to be as much about T&A as it is TDs, it's not as easy to dismiss it. With Lingerie Football League founder and chairman Mitchell Mortaza citing a growth in fan interest both nationally and internationally, Lingerie Football headed north this year with the debut of the LFL Canada, and has similar plans to debut in Australia and Europe in coming seasons.
"Our focus in 2012 has been to brand LFL Football beyond our US borders and the Pacific Cup will be a great annual rivalry game serving to engage not only our established Seattle Mist fan base but a growing BC Angels fan nation," Mortaza says in a release announcing the first-ever Pacific Cup "Border War" game.
"We never thought we'd have the success we had in the States, and we never looked beyond the States," Mortaza tells Seattle Weekly of the LFL's growth and the impetus for the Pacific Cup "Border War". "[The success we've had in the states] drove the discussion."
In addition to the league's recent expansion into Canada, and plans for the LFL to take on Australia in 2013 and Europe in 2014, Mortaza points to successful exhibition games in Mexico and elsewhere - which he says have drawn in the neighborhood of 18,000 fans - as evidence of lingerie football's global appeal.
"Those are massive crowds, for a sport that's still in its infancy," says Mortaza.
While the lack of clothing surely helps, Mortaza believes it's the on-the-field product that ultimately drives fan interest. He says the LFL has as much, if not more, growth potential as leagues like the UFC or WWE.
"I think people are realizing it's a legitimate sport, played by legitimate athletes," says Mortaza.
In terms of what to expect from the inaugural Pacific Cup "Border War," Mortaza says the league is hoping for another event showcasing what the LFL is all about - attractive women playing a competitive "new hybrid of the game of football." And he expects the competition to be fierce.
"Seattle is just an incredible sports market," says Mortaza. "I'm sure it's not going to be a very friendly [game]."
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