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Saturday, February 24, 2001

Oahu Bowl
may leave Hawaii

TV ratings for the annual game
on Christmas Day are high but
attendance at Aloha Stadium is low

By Paul Arnett

The Oahu Bowl may be moved to a mainland city, the Star-Bulletin learned today.

Aloha Sports Inc. executive director Fritz Rohlfing confirmed this morning that several mainland cities have expressed an interest in transferring the three-year-old college football game to their stadiums.

"At this time, we are exploring the option of relocating the Jeep Oahu Bowl," Rohlfing said. "This does not involve the Jeep Aloha Bowl, which is a Christmas Day tradition for football fans in Hawaii and viewers nationally."

Rohlfing told Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson about the possibility on Thursday. Benson wanted to make sure that the University of Hawaii would remain a viable option for the Christmas Day doubleheader that former Aloha Bowl director Lenny Klompus started in 1998.

This past year, the two games were split and were played on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Attendance was at an all-time low for both, prompting Rohlfing to explore the possibility of moving the Oahu Bowl to the mainland.

Rohlfing said the television ratings for the 19th annual Aloha Bowl between Boston College and Arizona State was one of the highest-rated games on television.

It was watched by nearly four million households with a rating of 3.9. It was the ninth-most watched game of the 24 televised bowls this past year.

Rohlfing took over the Christmas Day doubleheader last spring from Marcia and Lenny Klompus, who decided to move to Maui and work exclusively on the Hula Bowl.

Over the years, they had opportunities to move the Aloha Bowl to Anaheim, Calif., Oakland, Calif., and Seattle, but opted to keep the game in Hawaii. Lenny Klompus was on the mainland today and could not be reached for comment.

As for Rohlfing, he must receive certification from the NCAA in April on both bowl games. NCAA rules require that the postseason events sell at least half the tickets in the stadium or face a three-year probation.

"This marks the 20th anniversary of the Jeep Aloha Bowl," Rohlfing said. "And we look forward to making the game and its accompanying activities an even bigger community event for Hawaii."

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