POSTED: 08:00 a.m. HST, Apr 09, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 04:48 a.m. HST, Apr 10, 2014
The "heavy" involvement of Arizona Cardinals President Mike Bidwell helped move the Pro Bowl out of Aloha Stadium for what will be just the second time in 36 years.
Glendale, Ariz. will host the 2015 Pro Bowl on Jan. 25, 2015, at the University of Phoenix Stadium, piggy backing the Super Bowl, which will be held on Feb. 1, 2015 at the same site.
The Pro Bowl will return to Aloha Stadium in 2016 and may also be held here in 2017, pending agreement of the NFL and Hawaii, officials said.
The NFL's annual all-star game came to Aloha Stadium in 1980 and has been played here every year except 2010, when it was held in South Florida in conjunction with the Super Bowl.
An NFL source said Bidwell, who pushed the joint Pro Bowl/Super Bowl package with Commissioner Roger Goodell, was, "heavily involved" in securing the deal. The Cardinals and the Arizona Super Bowl Committee will host the Pro Bowl and related events.
The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce heralded the Pro Bowl announcement as an "economic touchdown for Arizona."
The Hawaii Tourism Authority declined comment.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in a statement, "While we would like to have had the Pro Bowl in Hawaii in 2015, the return of the Pro Bowl in 2016 provides the state with an opportunity to showcase our islands unique culture and beauty. Our state stands ready to create another memorable experience for the world's best football players, their families and the fans."
The Pro Bowl will return to Hawaii Jan. 31, 2016 and be shown on ESPN. Super Bowl L will be held a week later in San Francisco.
The NFL said both it and Hawaii have options for the 2017 game and a "collective" decision will be made later.
The 2015 Pro Bowl will be the sixth consecutive game played before the Super Bowl and the second under the new player "draft" format, the NFL said.
The league said tickets for 2015 will be available first to Arizona Cardinals season ticket members and annual Pro Bowl season ticket holders. Pro Bowl annual ticket subscribers in Hawaii will maintain their account status for any future games at Aloha Stadium.