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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 10, 2006

Pro Bowl moving to Saturday in 2007

Advertiser Staff

The 2007 Pro Bowl the NFL's annual all-star game will be played Saturday, Feb. 10, at Aloha Stadium, rather than the normal Sunday to accommodate CBS, the NFL said.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said as part of the new broadcasting agreements with CBS, Fox and NBC that begin this season, the network that airs the Super Bowl may also broadcast the Pro Bowl.

"CBS, which will carry both in 2007, requested the change for programming purposes," McCarthy said in a statement.

Kick-off for the Pro Bowl is scheduled to remain at 1 p.m., Aloha Stadium spokesman Patrick Leonard said.

Aloha Stadium has hosted the Pro Bowl for the past 27 years. The game has sold out all but one of the years at the 50,000-seat Halawa facility.

"Despite the one day difference, we expect even greater excitement and participation from our players, sponsors and local community that contribute to the success of the Pro Bowl," McCarthy said. "Working closely with state and city officials, we look to continue the momentum from last month's game and surrounding events which were hailed as a success."

Leonard said the Pro Bowl will affect the Aloha Stadium swap meet, which will not be held on Feb. 10. However, another swap meet will be held the next day, he said.

"Actually, it's better for the vendors," Leonard said. "The Sunday swap meet draws more people than the Saturday one."

Last month's Pro Bowl, which was televised by ESPN, reported low television ratings, according to Sports Business Journal.

"ESPN this year posted its lowest average Pro Bowl rating since taking over broadcast from ABC in 2004," Sports Business Journal said. The publication said ratings were down more than 10 percent.

The game also drew about 19 percent fewer visitors to the state this year who spent about 16 percent fewer dollars, according to a survey commissioned by the Hawai'i Tourism Authority.

In October 2004, the state and NFL signed a $21 million contract to keep the Pro Bowl in Honolulu through 2009.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann yesterday responded to the NFL's announcement of having the Pro Bowl played on Saturday.

"It's better than hearing them say they're moving the Pro Bowl from Honolulu to Orlando," Hannemann said.

Hannemann said he believed the all-star game would be a sellout on any given day.

"I think we'll get a sellout on Saturday, Sunday, Friday, Monday, Tuesday," Hannemann said. "I don't think it matters what day of the week it is."

He said the main issue would be shortening the Pro Bowl week "that we've all become accustomed to" by a day. Before this news, Hannemann said he was looking at a possible Pro Bowl parade on Saturday in Waikiki.

Last month, the NFC defeated the AFC, 23-17, in the Pro Bowl.