NFL Extends Pro Bowl Deal
HONOLULU (AP) _ The Pro Bowl is staying in Hawaii at least through 2005 under an extension announced Wednesday between the state and the NFL.
Terms of the agreement weren’t made public, but it will keep the game in Hawaii through the 2005 season and removes an option in the old deal that would have allowed the game to move for one season to Orlando, Fla.
Under its old contract, the league is to be paid $3.5 million for this year’s game and $4 million for next year. Orlando had an option in that contract to host the Pro Bowl in 2002 or 2003, but that option is removed with the contract extension.
``Orlando definitely wanted the game,″ Mark Rolfing of the Hawaii Tourism Authority said. ``They made it very public that they did want it. We were looking at a situation where we needed to do something after the 2001 game and the time to do it was now.″
Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen announced the agreement, and the part-time Hawaii resident said he was glad the game is staying.
``It’s hard for me to imagine that we wouldn’t have the Pro Bowl in Hawaii,″ Bowlen said. ``As far as the NFL is concerned, the players, coaches and everybody who attends the game love it here.″
Bowlen said owners will vote on the deal in March, and he sees no problems.
``I think we’ll have a 31-0 vote,″ he said.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority board will vote on the deal next week.
The new deal also gives the state more tickets for the game, an increase from 1,000 to 5,000, and will partner the state and NFL in marketing Pro Bowl vacations, a move the state hopes will help it recoup some of the money it spends to host the game.
``We think there’s a huge amount of revenue that we can derive from this game,″ Rolfing said. ``There are a lot of people who come here for the Pro Bowl. What we wanted to do was to be able to derive direct revenue from people who come here for the game.″
The 2000 Pro Bowl is scheduled for Sunday at Aloha Stadium, and is the 21st game in Hawaii. All but one game _ the 1983 game that followed the strike-shortened 1992 season _ has been a sellout.