Pro Bowl fever is here, but it's unclear how long game will stay - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Pro Bowl fever is here, but it's unclear how long game will stay in Hawaii

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Ticket sales point to the Pro Bowl once again filling Aloha Stadium, with local fans starving for live NFL action.

But it's unclear how committed the league is to playing future Pro Bowls here.

"We're looking forward to making this week, this time, this year the best Pro Bowl. We'll worry about the future when the future gets here," said Merton Hanks, NFL vice president of Football Operations.

The state pays the NFL $5 million to host the annual all-star game. The league and the Hawaii Tourism Authority have a contract for the 2017, Pro Bowl but the NFL has an option to opt out.

Sydney, Australia, is reportedly working on a bid. Brazil has also been mentioned.

HTA will meet with NFL representatives to hash it out.

"They're coming into our offices on Thursday so we can sit down and firm up the details. So if there's anything for them to tell us at that point in time I'm sure they will," said Leslie Dance, HTA's marketing and product development vice president.

HTA estimates up to 35,000 visitors come for the game and spend about $28 million.

The state gets $2.8 million in tax revenue.

"And that's just in direct spending. That doesn't count the multiplier effect or how that money translates back into the economy," Hawaii Pacific University Tourism Industry Management professor Jerry Agrusa said.

Another benefit is free advertising.

ESPN broadcasts the game into millions of mainland living rooms. It's one big infomercial for Hawaii, tourism experts said.

"When I think of the Pro Bowl being somewhere else it just doesn't register with me. I love Hawaii. I love the fans. I think it should stay here in Hawaii," Hall of Fame player Jerry Rice said.

Hawaii's 30-year-run hosting the Pro Bowl ended in 2009. Over the past six seasons the game has been played at Aloha Stadium five times.

"Pete Rozelle said we won't leave until they kick us out," Dance said. "Let's hope that attitude still remains."

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