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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 26, 2010

NFL plan under review

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer

The NFL will evaluate the results of Sunday's Pro Bowl in south Florida before deciding whether the game's return to Aloha Stadium in 2011 will be the week before or week following the Super Bowl, a spokesman said yesterday.

Sunday's game at Sun Life Stadium, located between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, will be the first Pro Bowl held outside Hawai'i since 1979.

The league is experimenting with tying the Pro Bowl to the same site as the Super Bowl and is holding it the week before the championship game in the hopes of giving its all-star game a television ratings and interest boost.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league will make a determination on the date of the 2011 game "30 to 45 days" after Sunday's game.

"We'll see what happens and hope for the best for them," said Michael Story, sports coordinator for the Hawai'i Tourism Authority.

The NFL is contracted to return the 2011 and '12 games to Aloha Stadium. "It is (just) a matter of if it is before or after the Super Bowl and we'll make that decision (after Sunday's game)," McCarthy said.

The NFL and state are expected to renew talks next year about the game's future here beyond 2012.

Hawai'i will pay the NFL $4 million plus an additional $145,000 for stadium operations in 2011. There is a five percent escalation in the stadium operations fee for 2012.

McCarty said although Sunday's game in the 75,540-seat Sun Life Stadium is not yet sold out, it is expected to become a sellout by kickoff. He said fans "from all 32 (NFL) markets" will be in attendance.

Visitors who came specifically to attend the 2009 Pro Bowl spent $28.6 million in Hawai'i, compared with $28.07 million in 2008, according to a study, the HTA has said .

The game generated $2.9 million in state excise, hotel and car-rental taxes, compared with $2.5 million in 2008, according to the study.