While the Pro Bowl may be good for Hawaii, these very ver optimistic numbers smack of Brand USA accounting rather than reality.
Hawaii lost one of its most important marketing events for next year when the NFL Pro Bowl announced it would be played in Arizona instead of its usual home in Honolulu.
All but one Pro Bowl has been held at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, since 1980 making Phoenix an anomaly in the games’ usual scheduling. The NFL announced Wednesday that the game will return to Hawaii in 2016 with the option to stay again in 2017.
In a statement recognizing the future locations of the NFL Pro Bowl, Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO Mike McCartney revealed that the state invests $5 million to support the event each year. A Hawaii representative could not outline what the money is precisely used for.
In 2014, the Pro Bowl brought in 47,270 attendees as well as their companions, which the authority said lead to an estimated $71.9 million in direct visitor spending. An additional $15.7 million can be added for game production costs and events surrounding Pro Bowl week for a total $87.6 million return.
The game is also watched by 11.4 million U.S. viewers resulting in more than $200 million in media value. Hawaii’s screen time will increase even more in 2016 with the introduction of a draft pick that will be televised live from Hawaii. TV numbers like this are always difficult to value with real numbers, as opposed to broad and optimistic — yet accepted within the industry — phrases like “media value.”
“The new format for the Pro Bowl also includes a draft pick that is televised live from Hawai‘i, creating additional buzz leading up to the game and more coverage of the Hawaiian Islands,” McCartney said in the statement.
HTA said it would move the funds that would have been used for the 2015 NFL Pro Bowl to pay for the next two games and support other initiatives that market Hawaii in Asia and the meetings sector.
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Photo credit: Traditional Hawaiian dancers perform during the 2014 Pro Bowl game at Aloha Stadium. Diana Quinlan / Flickr