HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Los Angeles Rams announced Thursday that they have finally booked an opponent for their NFL preseason game at Aloha Stadium this season: The Dallas Cowboys.
The game is set to kick off at 4 p.m. on Aug. 17, and tickets start at $30.
Kevin Demoff, Rams president and COO, said the preseason game is just the beginning.
“The passion that this market has for the NFL, it just seemed like the right time to bring a game back with the Pro Bowl (gone) for a couple of years. We really think the Rams can step up and fill that void," he said, at a news conference Thursday.
He added, “I do think there are possibilities as we move forward for us at the beginning of a relationship not just for preseason games but the potential for training camps, for off-season programs, for mini camps, for high schools clinics. Whether we play a game here or not.”
The exhibition game is part of a partnership between the Rams and the Hawaii Tourism Authority that’s aimed at helping attract more visitors to the islands.
The West Coast is the state’s largest tourism market.
Demoff said the preseason game will be a great test for Hawaii to show the NFL that the state is a prime destination for professional sports.
“While there are games in London and New Mexico, and the league is looking to expand internationally, I don’t see any reason why this couldn’t be a place that someone looked long-term to play regular season,” Demoff said.
Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association President and CEO Mufi Hannemann called the announcement a “great day” for Hawaii.
“We are a football-crazy state. We love football," he said.
There are some concerns about the stadium’s ability to host 50,000 fans, not to mention traffic issues with nearby rail construction. But the stadium officials says they’re ready.
“I can reassure you that we’re prepared and working closely with the LA Rams operation staff to make sure we provide a pleasant experience for everyone,” said stadium Manager Scott Chan.
It’s been months since the Rams first announced plans to host a preseason game in Hawaii, but an opponent had not been cemented until Thursday’s announcement.
The preseason match-up is the first NFL exhibition game at Aloha Stadium since 1976.
Until 2016, Aloha Stadium played host to the Pro Bowl.
The Rams and Cowboys squared off in the Divisional Round of the NFC Playoffs last season, when the upstart Rams and head coach Sean McVay defended their home turf against the five-time Super Bowl champion Cowboys.
The last time the NFL staged a preseason game in Hawaii was back in 1976, when the San Francisco 49ers took on the San Diego Chargers.
For more information on the upcoming game, click here.
This story will be updated.