Pro Bowl's financial clout slips, study says
Despite sellout crowds, the NFL game had less of an economic impact this year than before
The Pro Bowl's economic impact on Hawaii fell this year for the second year in a row, even though the event continues to draw sellout crowds of about 50,000 at Aloha Stadium.
Visitor spending fell 15.7 percent to $28.03 million from $33.26 million in 2006, and generated $2.72 million in state taxes versus $3.23 million the year before, according to a survey conducted by Market Trends Pacific Research. In 2005, visitors spent $39.45 million and accounted for $3.83 million in state taxes.
Unlike the two previous years, this year's game was held on a Saturday instead of a Sunday.
The survey, released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said more than half, or 27,265, of the 50,410 spectators at the Feb. 10 Pro Bowl were visitors. And of the 27,265 visitors, 20,608 came to Hawaii specifically to attend the National Football League all-star game, the survey said.
"The Pro Bowl ... contributes immensely to Hawaii's economy by generating significant revenue and attracting positive media exposure for our state," said Rex Johnson, president and chief executive of HTA.
The Nielsen national rating for the Pro Bowl was 4.6 -- up 21 percent over 2006 -- with a total household viewing audience of 5.2 million.
Market Trends found that more people planned ahead this year for the Pro Bowl as a vacation activity, with 90 percent of the visitors making a decision to attend the annual event ahead of time compared with 77 percent in 2006. The average length of stay for Pro Bowl visitors was 8.43 days, down slightly from 8.98 days in 2006.
Among other results from the study:
» 79 percent of the visitors participated in or planned to participate in recreational activities while in Hawaii, up from 65 percent last year.
» 77 percent visited or planned to visit theme attractions, up from 72 percent in 2006.
» 32 percent planned a trip to a neighbor island while in Hawaii, up from 26 percent last year. Of the neighbor island trips, 72 percent planned to visit Maui, 54 percent planned to visit the Big Island, 31 percent planned to visit Kauai, 5 percent planned to visit Molokai and 3 percent planned to visit Lanai.
» 46 percent of the visitors said they had a household income of more than $75,000, down from 49 percent last year.
The league has a five-year, $20.75 million contract with the state of Hawaii to play the Pro Bowl in Honolulu through 2009.