The National Football League announced Wednesday that the Pro Bowl will return to Hawaii after the 2015 season.
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The Pro Bowl following the 2014 season will be played on Sunday, January 25, 2015 and televised live on ESPN at 8 PM ET from University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, also the site of Super Bowl XLIX a week later on Sunday, February 1.
The Pro Bowl following the 2015 season will be played on Sunday, January 31, 2016 at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii, which first hosted the NFL’s All-Star game in 1980. San Francisco will host Super Bowl L the following Sunday.
The NFL has an agreement with the State of Hawaii to play the Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium following the 2016 season but final confirmation of the game will be made at a later date.
Watched by 11.4 million viewers in 2014, the Pro Bowl has been the most-watched all-star game in all of sports the past five years.
"On behalf of the state of Hawai'i, I am pleased and proud to welcome the NFL Pro Bowl back to the Hawaiian Islands in 2016," said Shan Tsutsui, Lt. Governor of the State of Hawaii. "For more than three decades, the NFL Pro Bowl has been a highly anticipated and exciting event that the players, visitors and our residents enjoy, and has benefited our local communities and tourism economy. We understand the NFL's interest in moving the all-star game to Arizona, one of their franchise cities, and wish them our best aloha. Hawai'i and the NFL have a long history and strong relationship, and we look forward to continuing our relationship in the future."
"While we would like to have had the Pro Bowl in Hawaii in 2015, the return of the Pro Bowl in 2016 provides the state with an opportunity to showcase our islands unique culture and beauty," said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. "Our state stands ready to create another memorable experience for the world’s best football players, their families and the fans."
"We are pleased that the NFL Pro Bowl will return to Hawai'i in 2016 and look forward to welcoming the fans, players and their families back to our Hawaiian Islands," said Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO Mike McCartney. "We are grateful for our more than 30-year relationship with the NFL and look to continue our friendship for many years to come. We have also reached an agreement with the NFL that would allow the option for Hawai'i to host the game again in 2017."
The 2014 Pro Bowl featured a significantly revised format that will continue. For the first time, the Pro Bowl was "unconferenced," and several key playing rules were changed for added excitement. Rather than the familiar AFC vs. NFC match-up that had existed since 1971, players were selected without regard to conference in voting by fans, coaches and players.
Tickets will be available first to Arizona Cardinals season ticket members and annual Pro Bowl season ticket holders. Pro Bowl annual ticket subscribers in Hawaii will maintain their account status for any future games at Aloha Stadium.