- Hawaiian city has hosted event every year but twice since 1979
- TV ratings for NFL’s annual All-Star game have been slipping
The National Football League is moving its Pro Bowl to Orlando from Honolulu, which has hosted the all-star event every year but twice since 1979, three people familiar with the matter said.
Orlando is among four cities bidding to host the game, joining Honolulu, Houston and Sydney, Australia, according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, who declined to comment on the Florida city being selected.
The people were granted anonymity because the NFL hasn’t announced the change.
In Orlando, the game will be played at the Citrus Bowl, which underwent a $200 million renovation two years ago. Greg Creese, a spokesman for Florida Citrus Sports, which promotes local tourism, declined to comment.
The NFL’s Pro Bowl contract with Hawaii’s tourism authority expires on May 31, and the league can opt out of the agreement.
The Pro Bowl drew a 5.0 overnight rating on ESPN this year, down from 5.6 the previous year on the same network. It drew a 6.7 on NBC in 2014. While ratings have slipped, the Pro Bowl is consistently the highest-rated all-star game among the four major U.S. pro sports leagues.
The NFL held the Pro Bowl in Miami in 2010 and in Glendale, Arizona in 2015.