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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, February 11, 2002

Calculate Pro Bowl's worth before bailing

Lawmakers are right to wonder if Hawai'i can get more "bang for its buck" for hosting the Pro Bowl.

This year, the state paid the National Football League $4.7 million from its tourism promotion budget for the privilege of putting on the all-star Aloha Stadium event. That amount rachets up to $5.5 million in 2005.

Meanwhile, no one, including the Hawai'i Tourism Authority, seems to have a handle on how many visitors came to Hawai'i especially for the game. Someone must do the numbers if we're going to debate the Pro Bowl's worth. And it's clearly worth haggling over the price, since the game's popularity has dropped significantly since 2000.

We should keep the Pro Bowl in Hawai'i if possible, but like anything else the state's tourism effort undertakes, it must justify itself.