SPORTS

Players present the bare facts of US 'lingerie league'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 May, 2013, 5:47am

If the old saying "love is blind" is true, then why is looking at women in sexy lingerie popular? Whatever your sentiment on the issue, it's this popularity that has helped the women's Legends Football League become a huge hit since it began in 2009.

With teams competing that go by such names as Minnesota Valkyrie, the Las Vegas Sin and the Philadelphia Passion, the league speaks for itself. It is filled with beautiful, athletic women, and three players from the sport - previously known as the Lingerie Football League - were in town yesterday to promote it at the Harbour Grand in North Point.

Hong Kong was the last stop for Natalie Jahnke and Liz Gorman of the Los Angeles Temptation and Angela Rypien of the Baltimore Charm, on their Asian tour. Despite the risqué subject matter Jahnke, 23, said the tour had been a success.

"This is empowering for women. We're getting the chance to play a man's game and play it well. We're drawing record crowds worldwide and we've expanded to Australia and Canada," she said. "It is not a gimmick, it's a proper sport."

The game is the equivalent of seven-on-seven full-contact American football, and was created in 2009, with games played in autumn and winter at major sports arenas and stadiums in the United States.

"Yes we're women dressed in scantily clad outfits, but we dress in sports-performance wear that keeps everything in," Jahnke said.

It was recently named the "fastest growing sports league in the nation" by NBC Sports. The league is the highest-rated live sports series in the history of MTV Networks, and is broadcast to over 85 countries with an estimated audience of nearly 65 million. It's also being shown on Sundays at 10.30pm on Kix (Now TV channel 518).

"Beauty might get you there but it won't keep you there. This is full-contact football," said Jahnke. "I'm a badass. Your key concept in this game is to mow that girl down who is standing in front of you."

The South China Morning Post contacted some local women's groups about the sport but they preferred not to comment.

Whatever critics say, the league's supporters say it achieved more US television viewership and attendance in its first three years than billion-dollar franchises such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship.