Pro Bowl done in Hawaii? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Pro Bowl done in Hawaii?

Vik Watumull Vik Watumull
Mayor Mufi Hannemann Mayor Mufi Hannemann

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - After a run of nearly three decades at Aloha Stadium, it appears the National Football League is moving the 2010 Pro Bowl out of Hawaii.

The upcoming 2009 game will still be played at Aloha Stadium, but the Associated Press reports the 2010 game would be played the week before the Super Bowl.

The NFL's Pro Bowl may be just fun and games to players and fans, but for Honolulu's hotels, retailers and restaurants, it's serious business.

At Happy Shirts Hawaii, there's sadness.

Vik Watumull's company has produced up to 150,000 souvenirs for each Pro Bowl the last 18 years.

"T-shirts, caps, jackets, bags and aloha shirts," said owner Vik Watumull.

Hawaii's current contract with the league runs through the upcoming Pro Bowl. 2010's game will be intercepted by Miami's Dolphin Stadium, but it could come back to Hawaii the next year.

It's part of a trial process that will pit the two conference teams against each other one week before the Super Bowl in the same venue. It's a win for other cities, but hurtful for Hawaii.

"It's a trickle down effect. It affects restaurants, and of course hotels, stores in Waikiki," said Watumull.

City and County leaders are on the offense to not let the NFL's presence pass Honolulu by. The event brings in up to $31 million into the local economy. Officials say the key to overcoming potentially losing the game is a spike in exposure.

"We ought to come up with a strategy in the off years that they're not here to have some kind of NFL pregame here, talked about a NFL preseason game," said Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

Whether it's a different game or NFL-sponsored event, Watumull is optimistic.

"We always try to look for a silver lining in every dark cloud and maybe there's an opportunity for something else down the road," said Watumull.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority says it can't comment on the future plans for the Pro Bowl because nothing is official from the NFL yet.

Tourism officials do say they are working aggressively to work out a deal to extend Hawaii's current contract with the league.

Monday afternoon Governor Linda Lingle issued this statement : "While I am disappointed the Pro Bowl likely will not be played in Hawaii in 2010, I respect the NFL's decision to play the post-season all-star game in the same city as the Super Bowl, one-week before the Super Bowl, on a one-year test basis."

Lingle says she is hopeful the game will return to Aloha Stadium in 2011.


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