Aiona Proposes Creation of Hawaii Sports Commission

January 27, 2010, 2:55 PM HST · Updated January 27, 3:30 PM
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Lt. Governor James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr. today unveiled legislation to establish a Hawaii Sports Commission.  Under his proposal, the 13-member commission would be given the full-time responsibility to attract, develop and promote sporting events throughout the state. 

According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Pro Bowl alone accounted for $28.6 million in visitor spending; while PGA (Professional Golfers Association) tournaments account for $26.3 million in visitor spending for the state.

“Hawai‘i is the home of the Pro Bowl. Over time, the game has become a tradition and our residents should not grow accustomed to seeing it played away from Aloha Stadium,” said Aiona.

If enacted, Aiona said the measure (HB2590 / SB2743) would require no general funds, and would appropriate $100,000 out of the Hawai‘i Sports Commission Special Fund for fiscal year 2010-2011.

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The bills are aimed at enhancing the state’s potential to become a worldwide leader in sports and sporting events.

“This measure will allow our State to proactively secure both large and small sporting events throughout Hawai‘i that will help to strengthen our economy and make Hawai‘i a leader among the world’s sports destinations,” said Aiona.

NBC Sports Commentator, Mark Rolfing responded to the announcement saying, “A sports commission is exactly what Hawai‘i needs. It is clear that the time has come for an umbrella organization to seek and promote sporting events in our state,” said Rolfing.

University of Hawaii Women’s Volleyball Coach Dave Shoji said, “This proposal is greatly needed for our community.  By aggressively pursuing sporting events in Hawai‘i, we can increase our competitiveness on the national and international stage,” said Shoji.
“By establishing the Hawai‘i Sports Commission, the State would be in a strong position to diversify its visitor attractions and help support Hawai‘i’s active lifestyles,” said Aiona.

Aiona was joined at the news conference by Brendan Cravalho, section director of Section 7 AYSO Hawai‘i; Jack Sullivan, member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame; Jim Haugh, president of Hawai‘i Golf Alliance and former executive director and CEO of the Aloha Section PGA; Herman Stern, president of the Quarterback Club; Chad Tsuneyoshi, president of MMA Hawai‘i; Ronald “The Machine Gun” Jhun, MMA fighter; Mary Ciacci, Hawai‘i District 6 administrator of Little League Baseball; Ken Suenaga, founder of the Ken Suenaga Swimming Invitational; and Marsha Wienert, State Tourism Liaison; Marcia Klompus, board member, Hawai‘i Stadium Authority.

(Posted by Wendy Osher; Supporting Information courtesy the Office of Lt. Governor James “Duke” Aiona Jr.)

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