HTA close to Pro Bowl yes vote


POSTED: Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said yesterday he will help make sure the Pro Bowl returns to Hawaii.

Yesterday morning Hawaii Tourism Authority board chairman Kelvin Bloom said the HTA will likely accept the NFL's contract proposal with a vote Friday.

“;We are told that the votes are there, but the proof is in the poi,”; Hannemann said at a news conference yesterday afternoon. “;Therefore, (NFL) Commissioner (Roger) Goodell has asked me, whatever I can do to ensure a successful outcome, I will do that.”;

The HTA rejected a second proposal by the NFL last week. Approval by the 10-member body was one vote short of the seven required.

“;I believe we can achieve that this Friday,”; said Bloom, in an informational briefing before members of the House Tourism Committee.

After 30 years at Aloha Stadium, the NFL All-Star game will be played in Miami in 2010. It will be before the Super Bowl instead of after it.

Bloom said the HTA made a counterproposal to the NFL after last week's rejection that included assurance that future Pro Bowls in Hawaii would be played after the Super Bowl. The NFL rejected the counterproposal, he said.

“;We would like to return to Hawaii and stand behind our offer,”; NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an e-mail to the Star-Bulletin yesterday.

The HTA rejected a first proposal last month because it did not specify which years the game would be played here. The NFL's current proposal specifies 2011 and 2012.

Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona said he would testify in favor of accepting the proposal Friday.

“;I am glad to see that the HTA board will reconsider the NFL's proposal so we can begin working on making the Pro Bowl even better,”; Aiona said in a statement yesterday.

Hannemann said the NFL has agreed to provide $100,000 to Hawaii charities next year, as it has in previous years, even though the Pro Bowl will not be played here in 2010.