This afternoon, we interviewed Mitch Mortaza, founder of the Lingerie Football League, to talk about the launching of his dream.
Darren: The idea of the league has been floating around for at least five years now. Why is now especially the time to go from one game a year to 20 games featuring 10 teams?
Mortaza:I think obviously more now than ever before we all need an escape from what's going on around us. And just the success we've had with the Lingerie Bowl (opposite halftime during Super Bowl), we thought if we can grab that kind of audience as a one-off halftime special, what if we built a year-round brand in all these pockets of fan bases around the country to watch their teams year round? That's why came to the realization we need to launch a league here.
Darren: What's the ownership model? What type of benchmarks do you have to set on attendance and revenue?
Mortaza: So it's a single entity league. We will retain 51 percent ownership of the teams, but have in-market majority team owners. The benchmarks - we will have to be at least 60 percent capacity of these major NBA, NHL, MLS venues that we're in.
Darren: What's that number? 10,000?
Mortaza: On average, about a little over 8,000.
Darren: What about talent? Some people think the girls have to be good for this multiple games idea to be a viable business.
Mortaza: That's just it. Obviously beauty is skin deep. What we've been doing is hosting our mini camps for the past couple weeks in the Eastern and Western conference, meeting with thousands of women and from there kind of picking and choosing a handful. So athletics are definitely going to be a key component of it. That's why we believe the fans will come back -- obviously come out for first game, but up to the players to make sure they come back for a second and third by their level of play.
Darren: What's the projected salary for some of these players?
Mortaza: That's the best part of it. There is no salary. The players get a percentage of the gate based on them winning and losing. There's a big discrepancy between those percentages. The players are going to be incented to play fierce football and win games.
Darren: What's the support been like...from people and perspective owners who have talked to you?
Mortaza: We are currently in discussions with two NFL ownership groups, several AFL and two MLS owners and then several celebrity and former NFL great-back groups.
Darren: You mentioned AFL. They are obviously not playing in 2009. Why do you think this is the time to start this?
Mortaza: Well, honestly, as you guys all know, a lot of leagues have come and gone that have tried to directly compete in some way with the NFL. That's not what we're doing here. This is a fun Friday night out with you and your buddies or you and your girlfriends to watch lingerie football and be part of this Disneyland for football fans type setting that we're putting together in all the host stadiums and arenas.
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