Aiona proposes creation of Hawaii Sports Commission


POSTED: Thursday, January 28, 2010

It is not “;out of sight, out of mind”; when it comes to the NFL Pro Bowl. With the game being played outside of Hawaii for the first time since 1979 this week in Miami, Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona wants to create a sports commission that would actively work on retaining—as well as obtaining—national and international athletic events for the state.

At a press conference yesterday at the State Capitol, Aiona discussed a joint legislative proposal that would establish the 13-member Hawaii Sports Commission. The entity's mission would be “;to attract, develop and promote sports and sporting events throughout the state, and generate revenues for Hawaii's economy,”; Aiona said.

“;This timing is intentional. We think of the Pro Bowl as Hawaii's game. Our residents should not grow accustomed to seeing it played away from Aloha Stadium.”;

The all-star football game has not been the only sporting event that has departed in recent times. Several PGA and LPGA events are no longer being held in Hawaii, victims of the downturn in the economy.

Currently, there is no state agency whose sole purpose is the development and promotion of sports. There have been other attempts at creating such an entity over the past several decades, but none have had the government support that Aiona was offering.

“;We're looking at creating an umbrella organization for the state,”; he said.

If enacted by the state legislature, the HSC would not require any general funds but it would have a $100,000 appropriation from a special fund for this fiscal year. The commission would be established this July and expected to be up and running by next legislative session.

Of the 13 members, eight would be appointed by the governor with the remaining five representing the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the mayors of the state's four counties. The only paid member would be the executive director.

Although there was emphasis on the high-profile sports such as pro football and golf, the commission would also be looking at international and domestic competitions in youth sports, such as regional volleyball, soccer, baseball and softball tournaments. Among those attending yesterday's press conference were representatives of AYSO, LIttle League, the Hawaii Golf Alliance, the Hawaii Stadium Authority and Mixed Martial Arts Hawaii.