Pro Bowl generates $28.6M


POSTED: Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The ball is still up in the air as to whether the Pro Bowl will return to Hawaii after a stint next year in Miami; however, the game's economic impact to the state cannot be discounted.




Keeping score

        Highlights from this year's Pro Bowl:

» The Pro Bowl brought 24,230 visitors to Hawaii and generated $28.6 million in visitor spending, as well as $2.9 million in state taxes.


» Eight-five percent of visitors at the Pro Bowl made the decision to attend the game prior to arrival to Hawaii.


» The average length of stay for visitors to the Pro Bowl was 9.08 days, up from 8.51 days in 2008.


Source: Market Trends Pacific Research


The loss of a high-level spectator event like the Pro Bowl means lost hotel bookings, travel kickbacks and economic impact to Hawaii. This year, the game brought 24,230 visitors to Hawaii and generated $28.6 million in spending, as well as $2.9 million in state taxes, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

The all-star extravaganza that matches pro football's best has evolved into the ultimate incentive reward for both players and fans. While the number of visitors who traveled to Hawaii specifically to attend the Pro Bowl was down 6.8 percent from the prior year, the results indicate that for a large majority of fans, the Pro Bowl continues to be a planned vacation activity, the HTA said.

“;The Pro Bowl and the economic impact of that event has proven itself year over year to be of great benefit to the visitor industry and to our economy overall,”; said State Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert.

With tourism down, Hawaii really saw the impact of the game this year, Wienert said.

“;We really saw a difference on the Neighbor Islands,”; she said. “;Hoteliers on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island said those that came for the game visited their islands as well.”;

While most of Hawaii's tourism community would like to see a continued Pro Bowl presence in Hawaii, it's too soon to say where negotiations will lead.

For many years, the NFL has considered other destinations. At one time, there was even talk of moving the game outside of the country.

Likewise, HTA officials and other members of the tourism industry have debated the economic benefits of the Pro Bowl against its multi-million-dollar price tag.

State tourism officials have attempted to formulate a strategic plan that capitalizes on the increasing popularity of sports tourism, yet also includes NFL and PGA level signature sports. There has even been talk of forming a state sports tourism commission.

“;The Pro Bowl has been a part of our community for 30 years and we would like to see that relationship continue for years to come,”; Lloyd Unebasami, the HTA's interim president and chief executive, said in a press release.

Since Unebasami is currently in negotiations with the NFL to bring the Pro Bowl back to Hawaii, he declined to comment further.

“;The Pro Bowl has tremendous economic, psychological and cultural impacts in Hawaii. It's more than just a football game or an economic generator,”; Hannemann said. “;It makes Hawaii's people and businesses happy and it brings money and exposure to our nonprofits.”;