In November, The Lingerie Soccer League announced on Twitter and Facebook that they will be launching a North American league in the Fall of 2017. My initial thought was, “Okay, how will this league work?” I wanted to honestly give a fair shot to the LSL and explore the impact (positive or negative) of bringing another league of this sort into the North American market. I wanted to be as open-minded as possible.
However, a more important question kept popping into my mind first: Why?
A little over a year ago Oxygen debuted “Pretty Strong,” a reality show that followed women who play for the Chicago Bliss of the Legends Football League (formerly known as the Lingerie Football League). Although this league has been criticized for issues with their less than preferable branding (Sarah Spain wrote a wonderful article about it), they still aren’t the absolute worst.
Many of these women have very few alternatives to play professional football in an atmosphere like they have at a Legends League game. Not to mention the fact that every game features former Division I athletes competing in full-contact tackle football. Even though the league isn’t an ideal league for female athletes, it still offers them a place to play a sport they love while making small strides in the right direction.
Their founder and chairman, Mitch Mortaza, is attempting to rebrand their league as one with legitimate athletes playing a real sport. Of course their biggest flaw is still their uniforms (at least they still aren’t wearing the uniforms with bows and lace and a choker and a garter belt, right?). But one success is that the football league is no longer using the words “Lingerie” in their title, deciding that the word wasn’t needed to further their league or their brand.
Which brings me to my primary question…
Why, Lingerie Soccer League?
Honestly. Why? Why do you want to exist? Why do you feel there is a need for you in the U.S.? Why is this the business venture you’ve decided in delve into?
If you break down why a successful business should be started, there are essentially two core reasons:
- There is a demand and need for a solution to an existing problem
- The opportunity and timing to start your business are impeccable.
Let’s review both.
A demand and need for a solution to an existing problem:
Is this an actual demand of the people? Are people actually upset when they see women playing soccer with clothes other than underwear? Is this a problem facing our country? Do we not have enough women playing sports in revealing clothes? Although someone actually voiced these sentiments once, they also weren’t aware that the Women’s World Cup was going to be the most watched soccer event in American history. And guess what? They wore regular kits. Currently, I see no issues that the LFL would fix.
The perfect timing:
There couldn’t be a worse time for this league to start. The US Women’s National Team are making a very public (and publicly supported) case for equal pay. The support for gender equality in sports is at an all time high. The fight against sexism in our country has been in a massive upswing because of our recent political climate. These are all red flags from a strictly business perspective.
The only reason I would welcome the development of this league at this particular time is the possible positive effect it might have on its players. It could be a place for the women of the league to feel both the support of having a team, while also feeling the empowerment of flaunting a body they’ve most likely worked extremely hard for. But of course, that’s assuming the atmosphere of the league isn’t a harmful or sexist one, which currently seems like a pipe dream.
Ultimately, Lingerie Soccer League, I will never, ever shame the women who choose to play for you, but don’t be surprised when not a single self-respecting soccer fan wants to show up to your games. You have a definite uphill battle ahead of you.