NFL moving Pro Bowl to Orlando in 2017
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NFL moving Pro Bowl to Orlando in 2017

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman of Team Irvin, normally a defensive player, ran with the football on offense as Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, left, and Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack of Team Rice closed in on him in the third quarter on Jan. 31 in Honolulu. Sherman lost 22 yards on the play.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has declined comment on the Pro Bowl’s multi-year move pending the NFL’s own press conference Wednesday in Orlando, Fla., the game’s new home.

In a statement, Charlene Chan, HTA director of communications said, “The NFL is announcing its decision on Wednesday and has asked HTA to refrain from making any comment until then.”

The Orlando announcement will come just four months after Hawaii publicly thanked the NFL “… for bringing the Pro Bowl back to Hawaii this year (2016) and again in 2017.”

The Orlando press conference will confirm what has been widely reported, that the league has opted out of its contract with the HTA for the 2017 game. The prime members behind Orlando’s bid — Florida Citrus Sports officials, ESPN and Walt Disney World — are expected to be represented at the press conference.

The Pro Bowl will be played next year in the newly rebranded Citrus Bowl. The stadium underwent $200 million in renovations two years ago in hopes of attracting more major sporting events.

Today was the deadline for the NFL to either reaffirm its intention to return to Aloha Stadium under terms of the contract, or take the game elsewhere for just the third time since 1980.

The contract originally required the NFL to make its decision by March 31 but that was pushed back to May 31 by agreement of the two parties.

Orlando will reportedly pay the NFL about $2.5 million — half of the HTA’s $5.15 million contracted payment — for the 2017 game, with slight escalations for future games.

Florida Citrus Sports had been seeking a three-year deal.

In addition to Hawaii, Houston and Sydney, Australia were among the locations seeking the Pro Bowl, the NFL said.

In recent years, the NFL has attempted to ramp up interest in its all-star game. In addition to twice moving its location, the league has shifted the game from being played a week after the Super Bowl to being played the week between the AFC and NFC championship games and the Super Bowl. Select former star players now pick teams, instead of having the traditional AFC-NFC matchup.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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  • This has been known for weeks and expected for months. Good riddance. The NFL took Hawaii for millions of dollars. This game has been of little interest for years.

  • Good news for me.
    Won’t have to put up with the traffic.
    Now… waiting till the self-appointed Emperor leaves office and heads home to Chicago.
    Then… our Christmas through New Years traffic will be much better.
    Imua !!!!

    • It was never about the game. Everyone knows that the “game” was an exhibition, not intended to be a real competitive event. We all need to get real about that. The whole point was to get a lot of really good players in one place, have a some events the community can come to like the beach party, NFL Experience, then have this “game” which was really a PR event and nothing more where tie sideline reports were more interesting than the game, and the inductees to the Hall of Fame could be introduced. That is what the Pro Bowl is about. That being said, I hope we finally walk away from it. The NFL will always find a sucker every where it markets the Pro Bowl. It doesn’t matter where it goes, all that is required is a warm climate, a willingness to fork over a ransom to the NFL, and a willingness as the host City to get what Hawaii got, some community events, some publicity, all leading up to an football exhibition. BTW all thos football players who said during the last telecast that the game should stay in Hawaii? I bet you won’t find a single player complaining about Orlando.

        • Yeah back in the day they played for chump change. Now in the days of multi-million dollar paychecks and equally lucrative endorsement and public appearance money, why would any player risk injury in a meaningless exhibition? Remember Robert Edwards of the Patriots had his career ended playing in a flag football game for rookies at the 1999 pro bowl. Too much risk to play hard anymore. It will never be like the 60’s.

        • agree. The baseball all-star game is much the better game with real consequences. I know the great Willie Mays once said that he was as proud of his amazing stats for the all-star games as he was for games in the playoffs. It really made a difference back then.

  • No Big Deal !! We will make up the money somewhere else. Game is a rip off. Not all of the best players are involved due to the Super Bowl.
    Happy to see it go.

  • Excellent news for Hawaii. This will give our tourism authority the chance to look for better events that we don’t have to give millions of dollars to and that actually promote Hawaii.

  • The Pro Bowl was a great sporting event Hawaii’s football fans, an especially for its live national TV exposure to millions of viewers on game day. The NFL definitely helped Hawaii’s visibility world-wide and will especially be missed by our local non-profits who received $$ millions of dollars directly from the team owners who sit on the NFL Charities Foundation.

    Now, we need to find another company or sporting event to replace it. Any suggestions?

      • NASCAR? Really? No world quality race track in the Nei. Not to mention the excessive cost to ship the cars here, lost time, hassle of travel.

        NASCAR will never come to the backwards Nei.

    • I would ask why we need to find anther sporting event to replace it. There are other ways our marketing dollars can be spent. Heck if I’m HTA i would buy a couple of 30 second spots on the Pro Bowl telecast from Orlando. Yea the NFL and Orlando organizers would love that.

    • Who says we got to replace such a waste of money event by residents and visitors?
      There’s no need period.
      Use your money to take the family out for a very nice dinner and movies.

  • Good riddance! Focus on attracting real world sports events like the youth Olympics where its small enough for Honolulu to handle. This will bring in famlies from all over the world and establish a frame work for bidding for the real games.

  • Good Riddance!!! Do us a favor and don’t come back. We got better use of the $5.1 million like giving our hard working public union workers a well deserved raise and bonuses.

  • Great news for Orlando! I hope the players and their families love visiting Orlando so that the city can have the Pro Bowl in perpetuity.

    Why the NFL has an exemption from anti-trust is beyond me. Did you hear that the NFL had to refund the payments they received from the military for sponsoring(?) activities at their football games. Yes, we the taxpayers were paying the NFL via the military services to march our honor guards, etc. on the football fields.

  • I feel bad for the players and their families. Goodell cares not about them, just the money. That’s why the owners love Goodell, and the players hate him.

    • Why is there anything to feel bad for the players and their families? This wasn’t supposed to be a all expenses paid vacation — paid by the State.

  • Fine with me. Never thought the state was smart to throw out that much money. The tax dollars from those attending from the mainland couldn’t make up at all. And the goodwill to Hawaii the state has argued on was bogus to me. Hawaii’s name has enough goodwill already. If any, this bowl game caused more damage to our reputation than goodwill, IMO.

  • Say Good Riddance to Pro Bowl and say hello to $5.1 and continued political mismanagement of funds. It was never meant to be a good thing for us tax payers. You gottah take solice that we only exist feed the coffers of politicians & their entities and taxed to make the rich richer.

  • The current format sucks even worse than the original. Not going to sit in the hot sun to watch replacement players. Florida sucks so they deserve the yuck pro bowl.

  • Football is my favorite sports. I love to watch College, especially my Warrior football team, and I love to watch NFL games.
    I really wouldn’t mind having an National Football League exhibition game played at Aloha Stadium. It’s a lot better seeing the veterans playing for a series or two than watching the NFL Pro game where the players don’t take the game seriously. There are restrictions in that game – cannot block the punt and a few others. Your not watch an authentic NFL football game with top stars. These stars don’t want to get hurt in this allstar game, so they play “touch football.” That’s what they are literally doing.
    Those local gurus that brought the NFL pro game here should negotiate with the NFL to bring a game here like they do in England. Now the NFL is talking about having a game in Mexico or China…China??

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