Pro Bold - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

June 13, 2011

Pro Bold

The governor last week called the $4-million the state spends to secure the NFL Pro Bowl rights "egregious self-indulgence" and "stupid". Pretty harsh words for an event that provides lots of upside for our state's top industry- tourism, and is a big event for locals, too. Now I won't disagree that the petty arguing going on between players and owners looks pitiful to fans, as the league tries to carve out who gets how much of the huge NFL revenue pie. But to suggest that this investment does not pay big dividends for Hawaii is both myopic and misguided, and might just be scapegoating for lack of revenues, previous bad decisions, and other age-old deals we are stuck with.

Yes, childhood education is a huge issue that requires funding. But to suggest, as the governor did,  that the $4-million Pro Bowl fee is somehow tied in to preventing needed education funds is a stretch. Visitors who attend the Pro Bowl spend money here, and they also spread the word about Hawaii. Viewers watching on TV (some 13-million last year) just may be inclined to leave their snowy confines to come and visit later on- and what's that worth? And taxes garnered by visitors go into the state's coffers, which should help pay for education. We need more economic winners, not less.

If paying for major sporting events is bad business, you better tell Los Angeles, Atlanta, Vancouver, and Salt Lake City- all of whom paid billions to host Olympic Games. You better tell South Africa, a country in dire need of educational growth in many areas, which hosted a very-well received soccer World Cup in 2010 that was seen by over a billion people on TV.  But please, don't blame an all-star football game here for years and years of education neglect and current shortfalls. Think about it…

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