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Will the Pro Bowl go away? It’s a question that does not away.
As we approach the 2014 edition of the game, which will be played in Honolulu for the 34th time in 35-years, where the NFL decides to take it’s all-star event after that remains an uncertainty.
It was the topic of discussion today at the weekly Downtown Athletic Club in a panel featuring a trio of elite names; former Chicago Bears center and 6-time Pro Bowler Olin Kreutz, marketing guru and one-time Vice President of Retail Licensing for NFL Properties Frank Vuono, and Vice President of Brand Marketing for the Hawaii Tourism Authority David Uchiyama.
In recent years, the NFL has searched for ways to spark further fan and viewer interest in the Pro Bowl citing mainly a lack of competitiveness and effort within the game itself. Kreutz says there’s no realistic way around it.
In its most recent contract, the Hawaii Tourism Authority agreed to pay the NFL 4-million dollars annually to host the game. A number deemed justified by the HTA when considering the estimated 28-million in tourism dollars generated by the event.
But NFL commissioner Roger Goodell continues to tinker with the “when” of the game, placing it the week prior to the Super Bowl the last couple of years. Goodell has also considered changing the “where” of the game in moving the Pro Bowl, at least periodically, to the mainland.
For the record, when asked if he would attend the Pro Bowl if it were held in say, Houston. Kreutz responded , “I’ll be on a beach in Waikiki.”