Showing posts with label ProBowl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ProBowl. Show all posts

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Aloha Pro Bowl!

In Hawaii  the word ‘aloha’ is used as a greeting, as goodbye and to describe the welcoming, warm spirit of these wonderful Pacific Islands.

It’s a word used a lot this last week when talking about Pro Bowl.

hawaii2012 043 Pro Bowl, that pseudo-football-game that this year precedes the Super Bowl was first played in Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium in 1980 and for 30 consecutive seasons with the only recent hiccup in continuity  being two years ago when it was played in Miami.

Pro Bowl – the game – kicks off a few hours from now, in Honolulu. Pro Bowl - the festival - began back on Monday when banners went up and the hoopla and players began arriving at their Pro Bowl headquarters hotel, J.W. Marriott’s Ihilani, just footsteps from our place at Ko Olina Marina and Resort, some 30 minutes away from Waikiki.

Aloha surrounds this particular game this year. The players were welcomed with great aloha; there’s been a warm aloha spirit surrounding the various street parties, beach parties, parades, fireworks and charity visits that make up the week preceding the game.

hawaii2012 014 But local media report this could also be aloha, as in goodbye, to the game in Hawaii. The two year contract with the NFL expires this year and rumors are afoot that the game will be moved next year.

Speaking of feet, Hawaii’s Governor has place kicked his into his mouth this week with some of the less-than-aloha comments he’s made about the negotiations. He’s been rushing to get back into aloha formation since being tackled by tourism officials.

Hawaii pays $4 million to the NFL to host the game and state tourism folks report that is generates $28.15 million in spending, of which $3.07 million is taxes paid into the state’s coffers.

Players interviewed by local media all say they want he game to stay in Hawaii.  One Seattle Seahawk, Michael Robinson feels so strongly about it, that he flew here on Tuesday to practice, on Wednesday flew to Pennsylvania to speak at Joe Paterno’s funeral and returned to Hawaii Friday (on Mr. Nike, Phil Knight’s jet).

Okay, so I have to mention that five Seattle Seahawks appear on the game’s NFC roster this year – they’ve not been represented in the Pro Bowl for the last two years.

So which way will the trade winds blow for the Pro Bowl? Time will tell. For now, let’s play ball!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pro Bowl: Big Bucks and Barricades

Sidewalk barricade at the Ihilani
J.Smith photo (c) 2011
The barricades were down on Monday.
That's the good news out at Ko Olina, the sprawling resort on Hawaii's western shore where we have settled in for a spell.

Those barricades and security checkpoints go up prior to Pro Bowl as the players, their families and friends begin arriving at the J.W. Marriott Ihilani, that shares a portion of the Ko Olina landscape.  The NFL - according to the local paper - takes over the entire hotel out here. A practice field is set up next door to it (you can see a goal post from the roadway). The game was played Sunday for those of you who missed it.

The barricades, I guess, are to keep players from being pestered by fans.  I'm one of the first to admit I wouldn't know a player without helmet and pads if I were to walk into him - they look pretty normal out of uniform.

Anyway, the barricades came down so we 'other' guests are now allowed access along the entire beachwalk and into the Ihilani ;you aren't allowed in the secure area without a reservation for a restaurant or spa treatment while they are there.

Barricades are just one impact of the game.  Since we are here, I thought I'd tell you a bit more about its impact -- this information comes from a week's worth of reports in the local paper The Star Advertiser

Pro Bowl is big bucks over here. Hawaii pays the NFL $4 million to come to Honolulu for the game and its related hoopla.
  • In 2009 - the last time it was played here - it brought 18,000 visitors who pumped more than $30 million into the economy and tax coffers; so maybe $4 million was a small price to pay.
  • The week prior to ProBowl is chockablock full of autograph signings, appearances by players, parades, block parties, charity visits -- and this year ticket giveaways.
  • The players and their families and friends rent high end accommodations while here, so last year's absence was a costly one according to news reports.  The NFL reportedly takes over the entire Ihilani (one article reported that Michael Vick was in the Penthouse).
  • Several high end beach home rental companies say the increased rentals are up this year. High end resorts in downtown Honolulu reported boosts as well.
So back to the barricades.  The general manager at the Ihilani was quoted in Sunday's paper as saying that the NFL is a great customer and uses all areas of the resort as well as the timeshare neighbor Marriott Vacation Villas, (that would be where we are) so I wonder if they are using all areas of Ko Olina including areas outside security, are those barricades more pomp than circumstance? Go figure. Go team.


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