By Barry Janoff
April 9, 2014: Many people who love to travel dream of going to Hawaii.
The NFL has decided to leave Hawaii, again, but plans to return a year later, again.
The league said that its all-star game Pro Bowl following the 2014 season would be played on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, in the University of Phoenix Stadium, home venue for the Arizona Cardinals.
One week later, on Sunday, Feb. 1, the stadium will be the site of Super Bowl XLIX.
The Pro Bowl was played in Aloha Stadium from 1980-2009. The 2010 game was moved to Sun Life Stadium in Miami, which a week later was site of Super Bowl XLIV. The game then moved back to Aloha Stadium for the past four Pro Bowls.
The Cardinals and the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee will host the 2015 Pro Bowl and surrounding activities. The game will be televised live on ESPN (8 PM ET).
The NFL said it would return the Pro Bowl following the 2015 season to Aloha Stadium in Hawaii, scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, and again televised live on ESPN.
The historic Super Bowl L will be played a week later, Feb. 7, 2016, in Levi's Stadium, which will open this year as the new home of the San Francisco 49ers.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority said that it has an option to host the 2017 Pro Bowl, when Super Bowl LI will be played in Houston's NRG Stadium (which was renamed from Reliant Stadium last month). Plans beyond that were not disclosed.
According to the NFL, the 2014 Pro Bowl presented by McDonald's this past January was watched on NBC by 11.4 million viewers.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority said that 47,270 attended the game. That, plus TV viewership on NBC produced more than $200 million in media value and contributed an estimated $71.9 million in direct visitor spending in the state, "not inclusive of the production costs of the game and events surrounding Pro Bowl week, which is estimated at an additional $8.9 million."
The 2014 Pro Bowl featured a significantly revised format that will continue, according to the NFL. For the first time, rosters were not divided by AFC and NFC players but were selected via a draft in which the best players regardless of conference. Several key playing rules were also changed.
In addition to McDonald's, 2014 Pro Bowl marketing partners included USAA, Verizon, Bud Light and GMC.
"We are pleased that the NFL Pro Bowl will return to Hawaii in 2016 and look forward to welcoming the fans, players and their families back to our Hawaiian Islands," Mike McCartney, president and CEO for the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said in a statement. "We are grateful for our more than 30-year relationship with the NFL and look to continue our friendship for many years to come."
Hawaii’s support in hosting the event in 2016 will be $5 million, "and there will be greater exposure of our state during the traditionally cold winter months," according to HTA.
In addition, the HTA said it plans to "reprioritize the funds that would have supported the 2015 NFL Pro Bowl to pay for the 2016 and 2017 games and to assist with other initiatives that will help diversify our tourism economy, which includes intensifying our efforts in Asia and the meetings, conventions and incentives market, two areas that have been gaining momentum for the state."
The 2015 Pro Bowl will be the third to be played in the same city as the Super Bowl. The Los Angeles Coliseum hosted the first Super Bowl on January 15, 1967, and the Pro Bowl the following week. South Florida hosted the Pro Bowl in 2010 a week before Super Bowl XLIV.
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