Dispute over payment threatens Hula Bowl
Aloha Stadium seeks between $50,000 and $60,000 from the college game
Aloha Stadium will not guarantee a date for the upcoming Hula Bowl until the college all-star game's owner pays between $50,000 and $60,000 owed the state facility for hosting last January's event.
The owner, Nick Logan of Atlanta-based Cornerstone Bancard, said the 2007 game is set for Jan. 14.
Stadium acting deputy manager Scott Chan said he wants to see the 61st Hula Bowl succeed, but not before payment is received.
"We have it penciled in tentatively," Chan said, "but we're not going to move forward until we get this resolved."
The Hula Bowl also allegedly owes other Oahu entities money, including Hawaii Pacific Entertainment (HPE), which handled promotions and advertising. HPE filed a Circuit Court suit in June asking for $103,559.54 in media fees, commissions and other expenses.
Logan said he wants to clear up the debts but also that his company, Pineapple Productions, is not liable.
"I've been trying to tell them they're asking the wrong person," Logan said. "We weren't the owners until the day before the game."
Overtime Sports Pacific, the previous ownership group, is also named as a defendant in the HPE suit. Overtime principals Kenny Hansmire and Mark Salmans could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin is owed $10,000 for advertising, vice president of marketing David Kennedy said.
"All I know is they're pointing fingers at each other, and we haven't been paid," Kennedy said.
Another $20,000 is owed Roberts Hawaii for ground transportation, a source said.
Chan said he spoke with Logan yesterday about the debt for the first time. He said an undetermined deposit will be required in addition to the settling up for last year.
"We're going to make sure we have one so we don't run into the problems we had last year," Chan said. "This is an event that's been in Hawaii a long time. We're going to do our best to work with this client to resolve the issue and have the game back. We're hoping this is a step forward."
Chan said he did not impose a deadline for payment.
"I think we have enough time. As long as they fulfill the outstanding obligation, it will be fine," he said.
Financial and attendance problems are nothing new for the Hula Bowl in what has become a saturated market of college football all-star games dominated by the NFL-sponsored Senior Bowl.
A gathering of 7,065 saw the East beat the West in last year's game. It was the first at Aloha Stadium after eight years on Maui, where the event struggled after it was sold by Bowl Games Hawaii in 2002 to retired TV executive Dick Schaller. Schaller sold it to the Salmans-Hansmire group in 2004.
Logan said yesterday that early plans to have a team of players from Hawaii and of Polynesian descent play mainland players this year did not materialize. That included participation by University of Hawaii coach June Jones. Logan and Jones said yesterday that it is also no longer in the works.
Another idea to have draft-eligible juniors play in the game was nixed at the NFL's request, Logan said.
The American Football Coaches Association -- a longtime Hula Bowl partner -- disassociated itself from the Hula Bowl last summer because of the proposed format changes.
Logan still wants to bestow national "Hula Bowl Player of the Week" awards, with a Hula Bowl invitation and a $1,000 donation to a charity as prizes. But that is on hold until a sponsor (already secured) is announced, Logan said.
Also, Georgia's Mark Richt has been added to the list of coaches for the game, Hula Bowl executive director Joe Dan Rogers said. Pat Hill of Fresno State and Rich Rodriguez of West Virginia have also agreed to coach.
Rogers said he has commitments from several players, but declined to name them.
He said the game will be televised by ESPN.