Maui Sports

NFL Exercises Opt-Out Clause for 2017 Pro Bowl

June 1, 2016, 9:03 AM HST
* Updated June 1, 9:07 AM
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A view from the lower level of Aloha Stadium during the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl. File photo by Josh Pacheco.

A view from the lower level of Aloha Stadium during the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl. File photo by Josh Pacheco.

The National Football League has exercised the opt-out clause of its contract with the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority for the 2017 Pro Bowl and is relocating the game from Honolulu to Orlando, Florida.

The $5-million fee HTA budgeted to host the 2017 Pro Bowl will be used to support sports competitions, preserve Hawaiian culture and the environment, sponsor community festivals and events, and bolster tourism marketing in Hawaiʻi’s largest markets (Mainland U.S. and Japan) and emerging markets, HTA officials said.

Hawaiʻi’s Aloha Stadium has been host to the all-star game 35 times since 1979.

In 2012, Hawaiʻi Tourism officials said the game generated more than $25 million for the state’s economy with 46% of visitors planning a trip to a Neighbor Island while in Hawaiʻi.

George D. Szigeti, HTA President and CEO said, “We appreciate everything that the NFL Pro Bowl has meant to the State of Hawaiʻi. Mahalo to the NFL for 35 years of exciting football, wonderful memories, support of local charities, and for the national TV exposure Hawaii received in the middle of winter.”

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“We want to thank the people of Hawaiʻi for being such gracious hosts to the NFL, our players, their families and our fans,” said Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s senior vice president of events in a statement. “We thank Governor David Ige and the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority for their support and leadership. We are also grateful for the collaboration with our business partners in the islands.

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“Our decision to move the Pro Bowl to a different location was not related to funding, Aloha Stadium or Hawaii’s ability to host the game. We value our partnership and look forward to continuing our community grants to nonprofits in Hawaiʻi for the next three years and working with the State and the HTA on future opportunities.”

In appreciation of Hawaiʻi’s longstanding support of the Pro Bowl, the NFL is providing $100,000 in grants for use by Hawaiʻi nonprofits in each of the next three years, a contribution the NFL has made for many years when the game was played in Honolulu.

“Like so many times before, the NFL’s generosity is going to help a lot of families, kids and seniors needing care in our communities,” said Szigeti.

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“We will continue to execute HTA’s strategic plan to support positive economic growth for Hawaiʻi’s tourism industry, and the resulting benefits that are realized by families, businesses and government services statewide,” said Szigeti.

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