After weeks of rumors, the NFL officially announced its decision June 1 to exercise its opt-out clause in a contract with the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) and relocate the 2017 Pro Bowl from Honolulu to Orlando.
The HTA had planned to pay the NFL a little over $5 million for the right to host the all-star game on Oahu next year.
“Our decision to move the Pro Bowl to a different location was not related to funding, Aloha Stadium or Hawaii’s ability to host the game,” Peter O’Reilly, the NFL’s senior vice president of events, said in a statement. “We value our partnership and look forward to continuing our community grants to nonprofits in Hawaii for the next three years and working with the state and the HTA on future opportunities.”
The NFL said it will provide $100,000 in grants to Hawaii nonprofits in each of the next three years, a contribution the league typically made when the Pro Bowl was played in Honolulu.
The HTA, meanwhile, said it plans to use the $5 million it would have paid for the Pro Bowl next year on bolstering tourism marketing on the U.S. mainland and in Japan, along with providing further support to sports competitions; preserving the Hawaiian culture and environment; and sponsoring community festivals and events.
“We appreciate everything that the NFL Pro Bowl has meant to the State of Hawaii,” George Szigeti, the HTA president and CEO, said in a statement. “Mahalo [thank you] to the NFL for 35 years of exciting football, wonderful memories, support of local charities and for the national TV exposure Hawaii received in the middle of winter.”