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Leet - a global sports reality
by Asa Butcher
2007-09-03 09:41:14
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How often in life do you get the chance to play a brand new sport, where anyone can win $1 million and also become the next sports and TV icon? This chance is an innovative new sport called Leet and it will be the core of a new reality television show called "The Winning Team", airing next year in all major U.S. markets. Leet has the potential to become the next global media and television phenomenon and it all began in Finland.

"We are doing the biggest thing that can be done with reality television and sports at this time. You think everything has been done…we're saying that is has not," states Justin Chacona, Marketing Manager for Spring Sports Ltd. based in Helsinki. Spring Sports has been finalizing the project over the last couple of years and they are now ready for its 2008 launch on American soil on January 1st.

"Anytime you tell somebody that you work for a company that has created a new sports reality show they are like, "Okaaay…Let me think about that…", but when you sit them down, put the stick in their hand and explain to them the positive reasons we have for doing this they are positive about it," explains Justin, the self-styled “Leet Ambassador” to the United States. "It is about people and it's about the Finnish idea of friends for life, which goes against the typical empty friendship American values."

"We are attempting to launch something that has been tailored for the media frenzy world in which we live and we are also trying to highlight the good qualities of people - not the back-stabbing, sexy bodies and 'screw your friends over to win some money' crap that you see all over the TV, especially in the US and UK, which is now coming to the Finnish market. We are trying to put a stop to that by putting out the highest quality product that we can."

But what is Leet?

Leet is a stick and ball sport in which two teams face off against one another and the team that scores the most wins, which is a sporting format familiar to us all. In the tournament goals are primarily scored by throwing the ball through a fixed circular hole that is fixed in the air, which is a bit similar to Quidditch in the Harry Potter books, although there are obviously no flying broomsticks.

"We are also developing Street Leet, which is a version you can play with your friends at the beach or park. In Street Leet you can throw the ball around, catch it in an end zone that you set-up at your own discretion, but essentially it is the same as Leet – it's a case of trying to outscore your opponents by passing and throwing the ball and ultimately scoring."

"There are five to ten players on a team and the players can rotate every five minutes. It is broken down into three fifteen-minute periods that are then divided into three five-minute rounds, within those five-minute rounds there's also time to switch halfway because it is highly energetic, with lots of running involved. We are definitely going to utilise helmets and eye goggles because the balls are not soft and if you throw them as hard as most people I have played with they hurt a lot. I also imagine if you were playing for real you would want to wear a cup," laughs Justin.

"Anybody can play, although you have to be able to walk and throw, which are the only requirements. I am not the most athletic person in the world, but I can get out there and throw the ball and have scored a few times myself. This isn't a sport where you have to be jacked up on steroids to be able to win. It takes the best of several sports that everybody can relate to and everybody kind of likes, but we have put it all together in a brand new package that we hope everybody will embrace.

The Finnish connection

The launch of Leet is going to thrust Finland to the forefront of the world's attention, since all of the sport's creators are Finnish. Jaakko Mäki-Petäjä, Keni Simola and Iiro Lahdenranta came up with the sport four years ago while playing around with a university diploma tube and a golf ball, and events grew from there.

"They developed the rules and have now spoken with every major US television corporation, plus it has been tailored according to the best advice received from people, such as Bernie Ecclestone, the presidents of Fox and CBS, and executives at Channel Four in the UK - we are at the point where we are really, really confident that this will take off," enthuses Justin.

"In January we will be launching "The Winning Team" where the winners will take home a one million dollar cash prize. We are taking teams from anywhere in the world; it isn't an American-only sport. We are launching in the US, but if there is a team from Pakistan that wants to play they are more than welcome to take part. We are saying that men, women and children can all play each other," says Justin, "If you have two very tough teams you'll have a more aggressive game than if you have fifteen-year-old kids just playing around for fun, but this is what we are trying to emphasize: it is for everyone."

The launch of leet.tv

"On September 1st we launched a massive, massive website that will be along the lines of MySpace/YouTube community where people can get together and just do whatever they want, upload whatever they want… within reason," laughs Justin. "At this point we are taking registrations for teams, whether it is in Finland or wherever. Go to www.leet.tv and you can watch some horrible videos of me and you can learn more about what we are doing."

"We are taking this project and going completely global with it, so please check out the website. Register your team, get activated, get together, win some money and have a great time doing it - You have one life. Make the most of it!"

Check out the Leet website here

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Asa2007-09-03 09:43:51
The new site is launched at midday (Finnish time) today.

Asa2007-09-04 20:46:18
Apparently not.

No sign of the new site as of Tuesday night.

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