It’s rare when someone has the brass tacks to say “no” to the NFL - they are like the Mob in that way (at least). Generally, they ask you to jump, and you say “How high?”. But the HONOLULU ADVERTISER says that the Hawai’i Tourism Authority has rejected the NFL’s offer to play the Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium in 2011 and 2012, citing concerns about the plan to play the game the week before the Super Bowl. They can expect a horse head made of Spam in their beds very soon courtesy of Roger Goodell.
The HTA plans on evaluating the success of moving the date of the Pro Bowl when it is played next year in Miami. If it isn’t successful, they will ask the NFL to move the Pro Bowl back to after the Super Bowl before accepting a bid. Apparently, the integrity of having Super Bowl players in the game is something that deeply concerns the HTA:
“They (the HTA board) just couldn’t see the game being played prior to the Super Bowl … now you don’t have any of the Super Bowl players at the game,” said Lloyd Unebasami, interim president and CEO for the Hawai’i Tourism Authority. “That was something they felt really uncomfortable with.”
This isn’t the second time that the HTA has spurned the NFL: last month they “rejected an offer by the NFL to play the game in Honolulu in two of the next four years, starting in 2011” because the NFL wouldn’t guarantee which years the game would be played. You would think that in tough economic times, the HTA wouldn’t be so picky, since the game brings in an estimated $28 million each year in tourist spending and almost $3 million in additional tax revenue. (Seriously, people actually travel to watch the Pro Bowl?)
Local and state officials are miffed that the HTA’s rejection of the plan, as they can see the revenue vanishing like the last bit of poi from a tourist’s bowl. Players might not be so miffed, since many probably prefer Miami to Honolulu, even if that does mean increased danger of misbehavior.