55 Yard Line - CFL

Lingerie football? Only in Canada…

There's a lot Canada's famous for, including hockey, the CFL, maple syrup, loonies, Tim Hortons and more. Most people probably wouldn't add "lingerie football" to that list, but it's notable that the Lingerie Football League's decision not to play a schedule of games in the U.S. in 2012 means their Canadian offshoot should be the only regularly-scheduled lingerie football this year. Of course, it's debatable whether that's a good thing, given the problems with bringing the league north of the border, the curious markets they've expanded to (including Abbotsford and Regina), the issues the Toronto franchise ran into last year and the deeper problems with the league as a whole. Still, it's interesting that the U.S.-based league won't be playing a regular schedule in its home country this season, but will be doing so in Canada.

Here's the LFL release on the subject, from league head (and failed Blind Date contestant) Mitchell S. Mortaza:

"Since premiering in 2009, LFL United States has drawn incredible success which has included sell-out crowds, aggressive franchise expansion and record television ratings, all of which leading to being called the fastest- growing sports league in the U.S. as per Businessweek. Despite this success, we feel that our U.S. franchise can reach greater heights with a shift of our regular season schedule from a fall and winter format to spring and summer schedule.

Thus in 2012, we have officially moved, not suspended the LFL U.S. season to April 2013. This move in schedule enables our LFL US teams extra preparation which ultimately will greatly improve the product on the field in 2013.

Our shift in schedule has also enabled us to kickoff the Lingerie Football League's international growth and strategy to include the premiere of LFL Canada (Fall 2012) and LFL Australia (Summer 2013).

The focus now is to not only be the 'fastest growing sports league in the US' but globally."

It's worth pointing out that the suspension or movement of league seasons hasn't often led to the leagues' return; once a league goes away for a bit, it can be difficult to get it off the ground again. Still, recent years have shown some counterexamples, including the Arena Football League, which managed to bounce back from cancelling the 2009 season (although as a new entity), and spring football leagues have historically proven more successful than fall ones, thanks to not having to go head-to-head with the NFL and college football. It's not clear how much of a crossover audience there is between fans of regular football and fans of lingerie football, but moving to a spring schedule may work well for the LFL.

Is the LFL's 2012 Canadian campaign likely to be successful? It's tough to say so far. They have four teams, including the pre-existing Toronto Triumph (although without most of last year's players) and the new B.C. Angels, Saskatoon Sirens and Regina Rage, and it looks like they'll be playing a total of eight games. Most of the teams are using reasonably small stadiums designed for junior hockey or the AHL, so it's not like they need to sell 20,000-plus tickets a game. Still, the Canadian appetite for lingerie football is an open question, and it remains to be seen if the disturbing safety revelations from last year's Toronto disaster will affect perceptions of the league. I'm not sure we're likely to see many Americans coming north to watch LFL games, either, although that might produce even better local tourism campaigns than ones featuring Terry Bradshaw. Canada will have lingerie football this fall while the U.S. won't, though, so perhaps the country should embrace a Jeff Gilesian slogan: maybe "Our Football Players Wear Less Clothing"?

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