he return of the National Hockey League to Winnipeg may have prevented the establishment of a Lingerie Football League franchise in the city.
According to the Winnipeg Sun, the women’s football league, which is more known for the revealing uniforms worn by players than the game itself, approached True North Sports and Entertainment (TSNE) about using the MTS centre for its new Canadian league, called LFL Canada, to begin play in this summer. However, TNSE declined because of scheduling issues, lack of time to study the business of an LFL team and the priority of returning the NHL to Winnipeg, says the Sun.
There are already four charter members to the new Canadian league — in Regina and Saskatoon, Sask. Abbotsford, B.C., and the Toronto Triumph, who played in the LFL last year.
The league wants to expand in the near future, much to the dismay of its detractors.
The common argument against the LFL is that the enterprise degrades and objectifies women — a valid point. When a player’s appearance must be considered alongside football ability in order to make the roster, then the credibility of the league, if any, is depleted.
Those claiming that Winnipeg passing on an LFL franchise is a financial misstep need only look at Hamilton for a counter-argument.
To promote the Triumph and the league, an all-star game called the “All-Fantasy Game” was played in Hamilton in July 2011. The event was sparsely attended, and it was estimated that the Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facilities Inc., where the game was held, stood to lose between $50,000 and $100,000.
There have also been serious questions asked about the league’s safety standards.
The Triumph, captained by Krista Ford, niece of Toronto mayor Rob Ford, began their four-game season in September. A month later, 16 of its 26 players, including Ford, quit the team citing a lack of safety, professional coaching and sufficient equipment.
Even without the controversy, a franchise in Winnipeg would probably not work financially. The average ticket price in the LFL is $48, which is more than many fans pay for tickets to see the CFL. Furthermore with only two home games per year, it will likely be extremely difficult to establish a brand.
Those still wanting to explore the possibility of a LFL team in Winnipeg should do their research first.
The results may be revealing.
There appears to be a demand for women’s football in Winnipeg as well as western Canada though, as evidenced by the establishment of the Western Women’s Canadian Football League (WWCFL) in 2011. There are seven teams in the league, including two in Winnipeg: the Manitoba Fearless and the Winnipeg Wolf Pack.