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Lost Ogle Q&A: Lingerie Football League Chairman Mitchell Mortaza

2:50 AM EST on November 18, 2010

Well, it's now been a week since:

"¢  The Lingerie Football League announced it was going expand in Oklahoma City

"¢  Mayor Cornett basically said he didn't want them to expand here

"¢  The Lingerie Football League compared Oklahoma City to North Korea and then announced they would not be moving to OKC

"¢  Oklahoma City hosted a confusing and difficult to define Creativity Forum that's big highlight included some Russian dude named Sam unveiling a miniature model of our downtown skyline that he built in his basement.

Yeah, I guess you can say it was a fun  "” and extremely disappointing "” week.

Anyway, to put some closure on the LFL in OKC fiasco/debacle/"How'd we screw this up?" situation, we asked League Chairman Mitchell Mortaza for an interview in the form of a Lost Ogle Q&A.  He graciously accepted.

After the jump, find out why the LFL wanted to expand in Oklahoma City, who would have owned the team, and if someday we can steal their Seattle franchise.

Q: Greetings from North Korea!  Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some of our questions.

When I first wrote about the LFL's OKC expansion plans, I said "Hopefully more details on the team (and the probable effort by our city's conservative leaders to block its arrival) will be announced soon."

Well, I guess you can say I wasn't too surprised that the Mayor voiced his displeasure. That being said, how surprised were you? Have you encountered anything like this before?

A: Shocked, that an elected official even from a conservative state such as Oklahoma would not take the time to explore the league prior to passing his own judgment and influencing others.

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Q: Most of the LFL franchises are located in larger metropolitan areas like Dallas, LA or Chicago. Why do you want to expand in smaller markets like Oklahoma City or Tulsa, especially when plenty of other larger markets are still out there?

A: We will continue to expand into major markets as well as second and third tier markets where we feel there is a void in relation to professional sports, especially a niche sports such as the LFL. Just in the past few days we have seen the public outcry to bring LFL football to OKC, in fact, over 70% voted to do so.

-

Q: Out of curiosity, have you ever been to Oklahoma?

A: Yes. I have attended Sooner, Cowboy and Thunder games in preparation of possibly expanding into OKC. As well as touring the downtown area.

-

Q: If the LFL does expand here, is there an ownership group in place, or would it be owned by the league?

A: We have a prominent commercial real estate developer that is based out of OKC that would have assumed ownership of the franchise.

-

Q: Where do you find players for the teams? Are they composed of locals, or is it a national recruitment effort?

A: All LFL athletes are from the local market, although numerous current LFL athletes have uprooted their lives from other cities and moved for the chance to play LFL football.

-

Q: In an email to us, Mayor Cornett wrote there were many reasons he didn't want the LFL in OKC. He said "some (are) obvious, some not so obvious." I've heard that one of the not-so-obvious reasons is that the league is struggling financially. Is that true?

A: Could not be further from the truth. In fact, in Fall 2009 (LFL's inaugural season), despite the worst economy since the Great Depression that greatly impacted all major professional sports, the LFL thrived drawing nearly 30% higher than projected attendance including several near capacity crowds, 2nd in Primetime television ratings, record internet traffic, 2010 expansion markets (Baltimore and Orlando) and the most impressive stat was that we were profitable.

Anyone who knows the business-side of professional sports, understands that unless you are the LA Lakers, NY Yankees or Dallas Cowboys it will be really tough to turn a profit, especially in your first season of operation. In 2010, the LFL has continued to exceed business projections securing a national television licensing deal with MTV Networks', sell-out crowds and announcement of expansion into (4) markets for Fall 2011. One of which would have been OKC.

Allegations of financial problems are being planted around OKC media by anonymous sources hoping to deflect from the Mayor's very unpopular decision or alleging his decision was possibly based on financial problems at the league when it was obviously based on his ignorance of the brand. We would invite anybody from the Mayor's office or elsewhere to come forward with any documents that show financial problems at the league. The reason the Mayor's office has not said directly it is due to the league's financial problems is because it is a falsehood.

If the league were struggling financially, why are we having such aggressive growth?

-

Q: Can you address the concern some civic leaders have that the Lingerie Football League is allegedly degrading to women?

A: Those individuals that have those feelings have obviously never been to an LFL game or watched it on television and certainly do not know our athletes. Nor do they understand that our athletes have a higher college graduate rating than the NBA, NFL or NHL further they are also not aware that our athletes are all former high-level college athletes and now come from all walks of life from Police Officers to Doctors to Lawyers to Military to Mothers

I find it very ignorant of someone to pass judgment on something they obviously have no understanding of.

-

Q: What the about young nubile squads of scantily clad women performing suggestive dances in front of 20,000 people during an NBA game? Are they degrading to women?

A: That is the irony, OKC Thunder cheerleaders are actually a lot more scantily-clad than LFL athletes and making suggestive sexual moves in front of families and children with no athletic basis. In contrast, LFL athletes wear far more conservative attire and are playing an actual sport. Perhaps the 'good old boy' network is more comfortable with women cheering rather than engaging in the actual sport.

-

Q: If the LFL does work out in Tulsa, can we get a discount on season tickets? Or at least get to be water boys?

A: Certainly Tulsa is a consideration very far down the road, but currently we have far too much interest from other markets to continue to battle city officials who do not reflect the views of their constituency nor appreciate the value of an LFL franchise to the community in relation to revenues and jobs.

-

Q: Final question, lets say I'm elected mayor of Oklahoma City someday. Would you let me steal the Seattle franchise and move it to Oklahoma City? I promise it will work out. Thanks again for your time!

A: LOL, as opposed to the Sonics that were struggling the LFL's Seattle Mist are posting capacity crowds, so I doubt they will be moving anytime soon. Looking forward to the day we can re-consider OKC with you as the Mayor, finally some progressive thinking....

1. When I first wrote about the LFL's OKC expansion plans, I wrote "Hopefully more details on the team (and the probable effort by our city's conservative leaders to block its arrival) will be announced soon."

Well, I guess you can say I wasn't too surprised that the Mayor voices his displeasure.  That being said, how surprised were you?  Have you encountered anything like this before?

- Shocked, that an elected official even from a conservative state such as Oklahoma would not take the time to explore the league prior to passing his own judgment and influencing others.

2. Most of the LFL franchises are located in larger metropolitan areas like Dallas, LA or Chicago.  Why do you want to expand in smaller markets like Oklahoma City or Tulsa, especially when plenty of other larger markets are still out there?

- We will continue to expand into major markets as well as second and third tier markets where we feel there is a void in relation to professional sports, especially a niche sports such as the LFL. Just in the past few days we have seen the public outcry to bring LFL football to OKC, in fact, over 70% voted to do so.

3. Out of curiosity, have you ever been to Oklahoma?

- Yes. I have attended Sooner, Cowboy and Thunder games in preparation of possibly expanding into OKC. As well as touring the downtown area.

4. If the LFL does expand here, is there an ownership group in place, or would it be owned by the league?

- We have a prominent commercial real estate developer that is based out of OKC that would have assumed ownership of the franchise.

5. Where do you find players for the teams?  Are they composed of locals, or is it a national recruitment effort?

- All LFL athletes are from the local market, although numerous current LFL athletes have uprooted their lives from other cities and moved for the chance to play LFL football.

6. In an email to us, Mayor Cornett wrote there were many reasons he didn't want the LFL in OKC.  He said "some (are) obvious, some not so obvious."  I've heard that one of the not-so-obvious reasons is that the league is struggling financially. Is that true?

- Could not be further from the truth. In fact, in Fall 2009 (LFL's inaugural season), despite the worst economy since the Great Depression that greatly impacted all major professional sports, the LFL thrived drawing nearly 30% higher than projected attendance including several near capacity crowds, 2nd in Primetime television ratings, record internet traffic, 2010 expansion markets (Baltimore and Orlando) and the most impressive stat was that we were profitable.

Anyone who knows the business-side of professional sports, understands that unless you are the LA Lakers, NY Yankees or Dallas Cowboys it will be really tough to turn a profit, especially in your first season of operation. In 2010, the LFL has continued to exceed business projections securing a national television licensing deal with MTV Networks', sell-out crowds and announcement of expansion into (4) markets for Fall 2011. One of which would have been OKC.

Allegations of financial problems are being planted around OKC media by anonymous sources hoping to deflect from the Mayor's very unpopular decision or alleging his decision was possibly based on financial problems at the league when it was obviously based on his ignorance of the brand. We would invite anybody from the Mayor's office or elsewhere to come forward with any documents that show financial problems at the league. The reason the Mayor's office has not said directly it is due to the league's financial problems is because it is a falsehood.

If the league were struggling financially, why are we having such aggressive growth?

7. Can you address the concern some civic leaders have that the Lingerie Football League is allegedly degrading to women?

- Those individuals that have those feelings have obviously never been to an LFL game or watched it on television and certainly do not know our athletes. Nor do they understand that our athletes have a higher college graduate rating than the NBA, NFL or NHL further they are also not aware that our athletes are all former high-level college athletes and now come from all walks of life from Police Officers to Doctors to Lawyers to Military to Mothers.

I find it very ignorant of someone to pass judgment on something they obviously have no understanding of.

8. What the about young nubile squads of scantily clad women performing suggestive dances in front of 20,000 people during an NBA game?  Is that degrading to women?

- That is the irony, OKC Thunder cheerleaders are actually a lot more scantily-clad than LFL athletes and making suggestive sexual moves in front of families and children with no athletic basis. In contrast, LFL athletes wear far more conservative attire and are playing an actual sport. Perhaps the 'good old boy' network is more comfortable with women cheering rather than engaging in the actual sport.

9. If the LFL does work out in Tulsa, can we get a discount on season tickets?  Or at least get to be water boys?

- Certainly Tulsa is a consideration very far down the road, but currently we have far too much interest from other markets to continue to battle city officials who do not reflect the views of their constituency nor appreciate the value of an LFL franchise to the community in relation to revenues and jobs.

10. Final question, lets say I'm elected mayor of Oklahoma City someday.  Would you let me steal the Seattle franchise and move it to Oklahoma City?  I promise it will work out.  Thanks again for your time!

- LOL, as opposed to Sonics that were struggling the LFL's Seattle Mist are posting capacity crowds, so I doubt they will be moving anytime soon. Looking forward to the day we can re-consider OKC with you as the Mayor, finally some progressive thinking....

1. When I first wrote about the LFL's OKC expansion plans, I wrote "Hopefully more details on the team (and the probable effort by our city's conservative leaders to block its arrival) will be announced soon."

Well, I guess you can say I wasn't too surprised that the Mayor voices his displeasure. That being said, how surprised were you? Have you encountered anything like this before?

- Shocked, that an elected official even from a conservative state such as Oklahoma would not take the time to explore the league prior to passing his own judgment and influencing others.

2. Most of the LFL franchises are located in larger metropolitan areas like Dallas, LA or Chicago. Why do you want to expand in smaller markets like Oklahoma City or Tulsa, especially when plenty of other larger markets are still out there?

- We will continue to expand into major markets as well as second and third tier markets where we feel there is a void in relation to professional sports, especially a niche sports such as the LFL. Just in the past few days we have seen the public outcry to bring LFL football to OKC, in fact, over 70% voted to do so.

3. Out of curiosity, have you ever been to Oklahoma?

- Yes. I have attended Sooner, Cowboy and Thunder games in preparation of possibly expanding into OKC. As well as touring the downtown area.

4. If the LFL does expand here, is there an ownership group in place, or would it be owned by the league?

- We have a prominent commercial real estate developer that is based out of OKC that would have assumed ownership of the franchise.

5. Where do you find players for the teams? Are they composed of locals, or is it a national recruitment effort?

- All LFL athletes are from the local market, although numerous current LFL athletes have uprooted their lives from other cities and moved for the chance to play LFL football.

6. In an email to us, Mayor Cornett wrote there were many reasons he didn't want the LFL in OKC. He said "some (are) obvious, some not so obvious." I've heard that one of the not-so-obvious reasons is that the league is struggling financially. Is that true?

- Could not be further from the truth. In fact, in Fall 2009 (LFL's inaugural season), despite the worst economy since the Great Depression that greatly impacted all major professional sports, the LFL thrived drawing nearly 30% higher than projected attendance including several near capacity crowds, 2nd in Primetime television ratings, record internet traffic, 2010 expansion markets (Baltimore and Orlando) and the most impressive stat was that we were profitable.

Anyone who knows the business-side of professional sports, understands that unless you are the LA Lakers, NY Yankees or Dallas Cowboys it will be really tough to turn a profit, especially in your first season of operation. In 2010, the LFL has continued to exceed business projections securing a national television licensing deal with MTV Networks', sell-out crowds and announcement of expansion into (4) markets for Fall 2011. One of which would have been OKC.

Allegations of financial problems are being planted around OKC media by anonymous sources hoping to deflect from the Mayor's very unpopular decision or alleging his decision was possibly based on financial problems at the league when it was obviously based on his ignorance of the brand. We would invite anybody from the Mayor's office or elsewhere to come forward with any documents that show financial problems at the league. The reason the Mayor's office has not said directly it is due to the league's financial problems is because it is a falsehood.

If the league were struggling financially, why are we having such aggressive growth?

7. Can you address the concern some civic leaders have that the Lingerie Football League is allegedly degrading to women?

- Those individuals that have those feelings have obviously never been to an LFL game or watched it on television and certainly do not know our athletes. Nor do they understand that our athletes have a higher college graduate rating than the NBA, NFL or NHL further they are also not aware that our athletes are all former high-level college athletes and now come from all walks of life from Police Officers to Doctors to Lawyers to Military to Mothers.

I find it very ignorant of someone to pass judgment on something they obviously have no understanding of.

8. What the about young nubile squads of scantily clad women performing suggestive dances in front of 20,000 people during an NBA game? Is that degrading to women?

- That is the irony, OKC Thunder cheerleaders are actually a lot more scantily-clad than LFL athletes and making suggestive sexual moves in front of families and children with no athletic basis. In contrast, LFL athletes wear far more conservative attire and are playing an actual sport. Perhaps the 'good old boy' network is more comfortable with women cheering rather than engaging in the actual sport.

9. If the LFL does work out in Tulsa, can we get a discount on season tickets? Or at least get to be water boys?

- Certainly Tulsa is a consideration very far down the road, but currently we have far too much interest from other markets to continue to battle city officials who do not reflect the views of their constituency nor appreciate the value of an LFL franchise to the community in relation to revenues and jobs.

10. Final question, lets say I'm elected mayor of Oklahoma City someday. Would you let me steal the Seattle franchise and move it to Oklahoma City? I promise it will work out. Thanks again for your time!

- LOL, as opposed to Sonics that were struggling the LFL's Seattle Mist are posting capacity crowds, so I doubt they will be moving anytime soon. Looking forward to the day we can re-consider OKC with you as the Mayor, finally some progressive thinking....

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