Except for the 2009 edition, the NFL's Pro Bowl has been held in Honolulu, Hawaii since 1979, but the state's new governor is sick of spending $4 million to secure the relationship every year. In a blistering attack on the NFL, Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie suggested it could take its Pro Bowl and shove back up the tip of Florida. Um, sure, we'll take it again? Why not?
Back in 2009 the state made a deal with the NFL to pay $4 million per game to secure the rights to the 2010 and 2011 Pro Bowls (technically played in 2011 and 2012, respectively). Like many states, Hawaii is now strapped for cash, and Abercrombie doesn't think the state should be spending the dough on sports when they're having trouble even finding funding for programs benefiting children.
"You can't do things like give 4 million bucks to a $9 billion football industry and not give any money to children," Abercrombie said. "You've got this spectacle of these multimillionaires and billionaires out there arguing about how they're going to divide it up, and then they come and ask us to bribe them with $4 million to have a scrimmage out here in paradise."
He then suggested it would be no skin off his Hawaii-sun kissed back if the NFL took the game back to Miami again.
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Abercrombie dismissed the idea that the economic impact of the Pro Bowl is even that important, and suggested the state will see a bigger economic impact from newly enacted civil union laws (can you CC that message to Florida lawmaker, please?).
"Oh please. We'll get more out of civil unions in a weekend then we'll get out of those guys," he said. "We're going to market. Don't worry about marketing."
The NFL has been thinking about tinkering with their Pro Bowl formula for a while. The 2009 edition was an experiment with hosting the event in the same city as the Super Bowl. The NFL could revert back to that formula, though there was also discussion about perhaps making Miami a permanent home for the game.