My comments on the LFL and league founder Mortaza

Click here to listen to some comments I made on the Minneapolis Lingerie Football League expansion team. I’ll write more later to refute the LFL founder Mitchell Mortaza’s statements on marketing women’s sports.

Here is what I would of liked to have said on camera in response to Mortaza.

1. He claims “there is a reason why women’s sport has struggled…is you need some kind of marketing hook. How about marketing females as serious athletes, show their athleticism, give them equal quality and quantity of media coverage, and stop selling them as sex objects so that people will take them seriously as ATHLETES, rather than an object of consumption for the male fan? Mortaza, have you ever considered that because the LFL exists that it undermines the athletic achievements of real female athletes?

2. To my knowledge there are not “various women’s soccer leagues that have folded”, there is only one–the Women’s United Soccer Association. The Women’s Professional Soccer league is currently seven teams strong

3. Mortaza claims the WNBA can’t be marketed because “no one can dunk a basketball in the WNBA”….SEE PICTURE.

4. Mortaza claims, “you can’t market a 330 lb. woman as well as you can a model”. What Mortaza is marketing is not sport, it is sex and sex appeal. What he doesn’t realize is that when men like him “market” models and package them as athletes, it only reinforces that only certain types of women and certain types of bodies are desirable and marketable, which perpetuates unrealistic norms of beauty and gender. I would also argue with him, that he is making a big assumption. How do we know you can’t market a 330 lb professional female football player….has anyone tried???… I mean seriously tried to market and promote a real women’s football league like the IWFL or the WFA? What if the same amount of coverage, money, sponsorship, and structural support the NFL enjoys, were given to the WFA?

I would love to hear how you would respond to Mortaza’s statements.

5 Replies to “My comments on the LFL and league founder Mortaza”

  1. I don’t think I could anything to you response, it is perfect. I would only say that after a quarter of a sport and gender class, my students can apply most concepts from Messner’s “Taking the Field” to deconstructing the LFL. I think it’s fair to say that the majority (if not all) of the students are fairly disgusted with the league and especially the claim that somehow it is “real” women’s sport.
    Would love to see female athletes and sports showered with money, as men’s sports are, so that we might be able discuss whether or not people are interested (or not) in watching women as real athletes. But since no female league is ever supported with the expectation it will succeed we will never truly get to the bottom of that issue. I believe that if it was marketed as if we couldn’t live without it, we couldn’t. Just my thoughts!


  2. meh, I don’t think you should get too worked up about this, Nicole. I’m fairly certain even testosterone-charged young males can see what this league is all about, and can distinguish its place in the market from legitimate sport ventures such as the wnba. I don’t think it will do anything to detract from other female athletes or how one views their endeavors.

    I think most people realize he’s not marketing sports with a sex angle, but rather sex entertainment with a sports angle. I highly doubt you’ll see anyone taking it seriously to the level where their busting down stat lines, box scores, and creating fantasy leagues around the office. It won’t come close to reaching that level of legitimacy.

    Yes, men like hot chicks, and there is a marketing angle there, even when it involves top athletes. Trust me, nobody confuses Danica, or Vonn, or Serena as simple pin-up girls. They do get repect from the male community for what they do. It’s just a plus for marketing purposes that they have cross over sex appeal. My wife had little interest in baseball before we met, but now can’t get enough of the Twins because of Joe Mauer, or as she refers to him: “Hottie Hot-Hot.” And she knows enough to realize that he’s one of the better players regardless of his charms, which is why she can quote his current batting average at any point during the season.


  3. In sum, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. No legitimate network or sporting publication would ever touch the LFL, it will remain with the mtv party crowd for awhile and fizzle out. It won’t do any larger social damage to legitimate female athletes.


  4. I am, however, looking forward to some field reports about who actually goes to these games, if indeed you do some live research.

    If the common fan is the drunken, hyper 20-something frat-boy type, I’ll give it a pass and just write it off as a function of that immature party age. If it’s the 40-something single-guy type, I’ll probably throw up on my keyboard.


  5. I’m a 12-year veteran of the Minnesota Vixen, and I plan on attending the tryouts on Saturday. It will be interesting to see how many of the women there have heard of either the Vixen (IWFL) or the Machine (WFA). I’m betting not a lot. I’m curious to see whether someone who has football skills but maybe not the “perfect” body (I’m still struggling with the remnants of my 14-month-old son and gestational diabetes) gets invited to training camp…

    As far as a response to LFL founder Mortaza, you’ve said it best: Until somebody spends the dough to broadcast the show, “real” women’s football is going to languish on the sidelines. I often think of the sport as the best thing no one’s ever heard of.

    So… what’s Mark Cuban up to lately? 😉


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