The NFL has delivered its message to Hawaii’s local and state government by taking away the Pro Bowl for one year to show they’re very willing to do so permanently unless the governments put out like a good taxpayer-funded source of income for the NFL. The $185 million in repairs on Aloha Stadium should be considered a down payment, not a solution.
(Top that, Miami)
However, now the NFL has to make the Pro Bowl vaguely relevant to fans and somehow attractive to the stars of the league, who consider a weekend near South Beach de rigeur and not a family treat. (For goodness’ sake, there’s always around 170 players from Florida in the league to start with.) So how will the league sell Florida in February to the NFL elite?
From the mouth of the events chief of the NFL:
Our job, in partnership with the community, is to make sure the player experience is second to none. And we’re very serious about that. So we’re working with the host hotel, the airports, the host committee, and both Miami-Dade and Broward County to ensure that from the moment they step off the plane to the time they go home they feel they had a peerless experience. We understand it’s different, and our job is to make sure we deliver on the expectation that the Pro Bowl is going to be a great experience. And it will be.
No one would even want to go to Hawaii if that’s how it was described.
It doesn’t terribly matter, though; the league hopes it’s a one-off hiccup and that Hawaii gives good luxury box additions. Otherwise, it won’t matter how great the parties are in South Beach or New Orleans: everyone’s staying home after the grueling season. (What’s that? Extend the season? Brilliant!)