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No helmets or thongs at Lingerie Bowl
Disney subsidiary Miramax objects to its listing as a Lingerie Bowl sponsor.
February 2, 2005: 3:25 PM EST
by Aaron Smith, CNN/Money staff writer
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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Like the models themselves, the corporate sponsors for Lingerie Bowl 2005 -- the model-playing alternative to Super Bowl XXXIX -- have been revealed. But one company whose film will be advertised during the show is not so happy to be exposed.

Miramax, a unit of Walt Disney Co. (down $0.09 to $28.71, Research), is advertising its Dimension Films production, "Sin City," during the Lingerie Bowl. But the announcement of that fact by the show's producer, Horizon Productions, raised Miramax's ire.

"Miramax did not pay to be sponsored for this event, nor did we agree to be listed as a sponsor," said Miramax spokesman Matthew Hiltzik. Hiltzik did not deny, however, that the Lingerie Bowl was running an ad placement for "Sin City." Christopher Martin, spokesman for Horizon Productions, Inc., the entertainment company that is producing the show, insisted that Miramax is a sponsor.

The two-hour broadcast , running from 7 to 9 p.m. on Sunday as an alternative to Super Bowl 2005, will feature football-playing models clad in lingerie, eschewing athletic protective wear.

"The biggest difference between this year and last year is that we've done away with football helmets and pads, so it'll be a sexier game," said Martin.

Horizon Productions revealed its sponsors Tuesday, just five days ahead of Lingerie Bowl 2005, according to Martin, who declined to comment on details regarding sponsors' payment for ads. The sponsors will have a few days to bask in the exposure, without suffering prolonged criticism for their backing of the racy Pay-Per-View program, said Martin.

"People had this impression that these girls were strippers running around in thongs, and it couldn't be further from the truth," said Martin, who wants to avoid a repeat of last year's fallout by waiting until the final week to name sponsors. "It's a fiercely fought football game between models."

The sponsors include Vivendi Universal Games, Monster Energy Drink and AsomBroso Tequilla. Vivendi spokesman Adam Kahn and AsomBroso Tequila spokesman Rick Gamarra confirmed their companies' sponsorships, while Monster proudly touted the announcement on its Web page.

The "Sin City" association with the Lingerie Bowl is another departure from family-oriented fun for Disney, which owns Miramax as well as ABC, the network that airs the sex-obsessed "Desperate Housewives." That show has been popular with viewers, but five of its advertisers -- Tyson Foods Inc., (down $0.11 to $17.00, Research) Lowe's Companies (down $0.05 to $57.03, Research), Kellogg Co. (down $0.38 to $44.57, Research), ConAgra Foods (down $0.03 to $28.96, Research) and Pinnacle Foods Group -- came under attack in October by the American Family Association, a self-described "traditional family values" group. Tyson, Lowe's and Kellogg discontinued advertising.

Sex and the Super Bowl has been a touchy combination of late, considering singer Janet Jackson's notorious "wardrobe malfunction" in 2004.

Last year, Horizon Productions announced the sponsors 60 days before the airing of Lingerie Bowl 2004. The move backfired, as critics spent the ensuing 60 days bashing the sponsors as non-family oriented. Dodge Motor Co. tried to dodged criticism by backing out of its sponsorship, and was replaced by online gambling site PartyPoker.com.

The day's broadcast will lead to a 25-minute football game between the Los Angeles Temptation and New York Euphoria. The game is intended to be the sexy alternative to Paul McCartney's Super Bowl halftime show, which will air at the same time, said Martin.

Martin said that the lingerie models are serious about sports.

"They've been in training for three months," said Martin. "These girls know their football."  Top of page

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