HONOLULU (KHNL) - Sunday might have been the last Pro Bowl played at Aloha Stadium. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell cites the condition of the stadium as one of the reasons the game is leaving the islands. Some lawmakers are trying to bring it back.
It's a game fans look forward to every year. Many even come to Hawaii to be a part of the Pro Bowl activities and action. For players, coming to the sunny and warm islands in the middle of winter is a treat they also look forward to. But a post season trip to Hawaii may be a thing of the past.
"The fans are amazing, families have a wonderful time, the game is great and I think a lot of that is going to be lost when we move to the mainland," said NFL Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald.
The NFL is looking into holding the Pro Bowl in different cities. Hawaii would be just one of many getting a chance to host the game, only if improvements are made to aging Aloha Stadium.
"I think it's a viable solution for us to take a look at. I think when you look at the stadium, it's been around since 1976, we need to see how we can upgrade it or expand it because it can't last that long," said Rep. Michael Magaoay (D) Laie, North Shore.
Some of the improvements the NFL would like to see include luxury box seats and restaurants. The price tag would be in the neighborhood of 185-million dollars. The state is already considering 43-million on upgrading the stadium.
"Well, it sounds a bit steep but you know, maybe that's the kind of deal that they negotiate with other states for the running of the Pro Bowl," said Sen. Clarence Nishihara (D) Committee on Tourism Chair.
While this is a big game that draws a lot of attention to the islands, it's not the only game Aloha Stadium is used for. And while many would like to see improvements, they also don't want the cost to fix it up take away the "aloha" for the stadium.
"We have to make sure that as we promote Hawaii those venues will be used for the rest of the year not only for Pro Bowl."
Improvements starting with the design on aloha stadium are scheduled to begin in June, with a completion date set for July 2010. Construction will start in March of 2011 and completion in July of 2012.