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Football with a sexy twist: Lingerie league comes to the region
By STEVE HUNTER, For The Mirror
Scantily-clad women playing tackle football will make their debut for the new Seattle Mist of the inaugural Lingerie Football League.
Action begins Sept. 11 at the ShoWare Center in Kent.
Tickets went on sale this month for the game between the San Diego Seduction and the Seattle Mist — two of the 10 teams in the new Lingerie Football League.
Tickets range from $12 for upper end zone seats to $105 for VIP mid-field seats. Other ticket prices are $16, $22, $35 and $65 at the 6,000-seat arena.
The Mist will play only four games. The other home game is Jan. 1 against the Denver Dream. The road games are Oct. 23 at the Dallas Desire and Nov. 27 at the Los Angeles Temptation.
The games will feature seven-on-seven tackle football on a 50-yard field. Each offense will have a quarterback, center, two running backs and three receivers.
“All of the girls have athletic backgrounds, whether it’s field hockey, gymnastics or even wrestling,” said Stephon McMillen, media director for the league, in a phone interview Wednesday from his office in West Hollywood, Calif. “Everybody has athletic ability and they also are beautiful. They have to be both to be a part of the team.”
The idea for the new league grew out of the popular Lingerie Bowl that has been played the last few years at Super Bowl sites and shown on pay-per-view television during halftime of the Super Bowl.
“It’s a very niche product and a complement to the NFL,” McMillen said.
About 55 percent of fans are expected to be male, based on early ticket sales for other Lingerie Football League teams and hits on the league’s Web site. McMillen expects most fans to be ages 20 to 40.
League officials looked at several venues in the Seattle area, but liked the newness of the ShoWare Center as well as the location.
Tim Higgins, ShoWare Center general manager, expects the Seattle Mist to be popular.
“It’s something different, a different form of entertainment and sporting event,” Higgins said. “They have tryouts and the girls take the sport very seriously. I think it will do well here.”
Anyone who criticizes lingerie football simply is unfamiliar with the sport, McMillen said.
“It’s usually people who haven’t seen a game before,” McMillen said when asked about critics of the sport. “If you watch a game, you’ll see real football. They’re wearing lingerie, but it’s boys sports shorts, a sports bra, a helmet and pads.
“They are more covered up than women’s beach volleyball,” he said. “The only thing risque is it’s called lingerie football.”
League officials selected an initial Seattle roster last fall during tryouts at Green Lake Park. But new players could make the team at a minicamp in late April or the training camp in July.
“If we find new talent, we’ll bring them on,” McMillen said. “Nobody is guaranteed a spot.”
The Seattle Mist Web site lists 12 players on the roster from ages 20 to 34.
Maggie Pearson, listed as a 5-foot-7, 135-pound center, has a MySpace.com page that features a Seattle Mist team photo as well as a photo of her in uniform No. 9. Pearson writes on the page that she graduated from Washington State University and Federal Way High School. She said she ran track and competed in soccer, gymnastics and swimming at Federal Way.
McMillen said he would not disclose how much each player will be paid.
“But they will be well-compensated,” he said. “They also will receive bonuses in line with their success.”
The league owns each team, but local ownership will be found as well to oversee a front-office staff. Seattle has hired Rob Long, a former arena football player, to coach the Mist. No other hires have been made.
The Seattle franchise also is in discussions with several former Seattle Seahawks to become involved with the team in some capacity, McMillen said.
“We are purposely in the Seattle market because we understand the passion their fans feel to their local pro teams,” McMillen said.