The NFL Pro Bowl that returned to Hawaii last Sunday after a year’s absence accounted for $28.15 million in visitor spending and generated $3.07 million in state taxes from those people who came here specifically to attend the annual all-star game.
Even though the amount of spending was down slightly from $28.6 million the last time the game was played in Hawaii in 2009, the amount generated in tax revenue was up about 6 percent from $2.9 million in 2009, according to a Hawaii Tourism Authority visitor research survey that was conducted by Market Trends Pacific Research.
The game, which was played the week before the Super Bowl, attracted 49,311 spectators, down slightly from 49,958 in 2009. Last year’s game was played in Miami, also the week before the Super Bowl. The timing of the game was changed from the week after the Super Bowl in the hope of increasing television viewership, and the move paid off last Sunday with a Nielsen national rating of 7.7, a 42.6 percent increase from 2009.
There were 21,204 visitors among last Sunday’s attendees, down from 24,230 in 2009. Of the 21,204 visitors, 17,048 came specifically to Hawaii to attend the Pro Bowl, down 7.8 percent from 2009.
The average length of stay for Pro Bowl visitors, however, rose to 10.75 days from 9.08 days.
"We were … very pleased with the increase in viewership this year," said Mike McCartney, president and chief executive officer of HTA. "This is especially meaningful because the television exposure is probably one of the most powerful benefits of the Pro Bowl to Hawaii. Viewers are seeing beautiful images of Hawaii during the middle of winter on the mainland, and we know that it helps influence their decision to come to our islands in the near future."
The game is scheduled to return to Honolulu in 2012, the final year of the current contract.
HTA’s survey found that 86 percent of visitors at this year’s Pro Bowl made the decision to attend the game prior to arriving in Hawaii — just up from 85 percent in 2009 — an indication that for a large majority of fans, the Pro Bowl is a planned vacation activity.
The survey also found that 89 percent of visitors to the Pro Bowl participated or planned to participate in activities such as golf, tennis, biking, swimming or fishing. That’s up from 84 percent in 2009.
In addition, 80 percent visited or planned to visit attractions such as Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, Polynesian Cultural Center, Sea Life Park and Waimea Valley. In 2009, 75 percent visited or planned to see such attractions.