Opt-out deadline for 2017 Pro Bowl contract extended to May

The NFL and the Hawaii Tourism Authority will have two more months to negotiate for the 2017 Pro Bowl.

They announced Thursday that, by mutual agreement, the deadline for either side to opt out of the contract has been extended from March 31 to May 31.

Leslie Dance, HTA’s vice president of marketing, says that’s a good thing “because what it is is a mutually agreed upon decision. It’s in the best interest of the NFL and the HTA. We’re having really good productive discussions and trying to enhance the event and it allows us to move ahead without the pressure of this looming deadline March 31 deadline.”

The state pays the NFL $5 million to host the game that in turn pumps in tens of millions of dollars into Hawaii’s economy.

Now it has some competition from Houston, home of the next Super Bowl, and Orlando, Fla.

But Dance says local officials aren’t concerning themselves what other cities might be offering in an effort to lure the annual all-star game, or what might happen down the road.

“We’re only trying to get through 2017 and then we’ll see where it goes from there,” she said. “They are very well aware that Hawaii loves the Pro Bowl and we are making a really good case to keep the game here.”

The NFL’s all-star game has been played at Aloha Stadium 35 times over the last 37 years.

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