College sports help generate HTA funds, so they should benefit from them

One of the things I’ve found annoying for a while now is the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s lack of responsiveness, specifically to questions about what it will do with the $4 million that normally goes to the NFL during years when it stages the Pro Bowl here in Hawaii.

I’ve written previously that since there is no Pro Bowl in 2015 it would make sense for that money — or at least some of it — to go to the state’s colleges that have intercollegiate athletic programs. Not just the University of Hawaii at Manoa, but also Chaminade, Hawaii Pacific, UH-Hilo and even Brigham Young-Hawaii while its athletic department remains in existence.

This just makes sense; HTA is funded by a tourism tax and these schools’ athletic programs generate visitor industry dollars as they host visiting schools … the broadcasting of their games also produces marketing of Hawaii, generating more revenue. These are the same reasons put forth for outlaying the money annually to the NFL.

When I spoke with him Monday, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui again voiced his agreement that this would a positive and correct step. Hopefully he can get the HTA to move on this; maybe it will help that former HTA head Mike McCartney is now Gov. David Ige’s chief of staff.

UH did receive funding from the HTA, but just for one year.

It may also help that Tsutsui, with the assistance of Mark Rohlfing, is putting together a sports advisory board of 15 community leaders. The committee is scheduled to have its first meeting Jan. 15, Tsutsui said, and a big part of its mission will be to “look at resources, how they are collected and used.”

Tsutsui emphasized that the group will not be involved in UH’s selection of administrators or coaches, but could affect its athletic program in a more indirect manner because he envisions the Aloha Stadium issue as something it will address.

As UH and the state’s other college sports programs desperately search for revenue streams, they should definitely benefit from money coming into the state that they help produce.


  1. David J. December 23, 2014 6:19 pm

    I understand what you people trying to say!. It’s not only happening in the state of Hawaii!. It’s all over the country!. The problem over here is large companies and corporations CEO are making million of dollars and also getting million dollars raises . But laying off lost middle class income people!. It’s also in our state government workers too!. They’re tell us that they care for us in the state but it’s all a big lie!. The people of the state should ask them to tell us the true that how much to their make income in a month? . Where do the money go too!. Because they’re aren’t going to help the University or the people! They expect us to take our money and pay for it!. But they can take our hard working money from us every time!. State and the City government should get the money from the large companies and corporations or rises there rental up to 75%. And stop being pushed around!. Like they say if you bring up the gas prices!. We will bring up the prices for you to sale it!. They have to remember this that? They aren’t the only one in the country! .

  2. Boya_jr December 23, 2014 9:55 pm

    Dave, please continue to pursue this topic. Hawaii’s college athletics brings much needed national TV and media exposure. Also, June Jones on Leahey and Leahey said that a sports commission is needed. He cited Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Colorado Springs as successful municipalities that benefited from a sports commission. Go Warriors!

  3. hitman December 24, 2014 12:57 am

    right UH need all the help it can get !! like that the gov.putting a team togetter !! but i really think he should raise the tax on the dollar !! say 4 cents that goes a long way and that goes to the UH for sports and call it keep the kids on the field fund !! and by doing a 4 cent on the dollar we all pay even outsiders

  4. Maddog50 December 24, 2014 4:21 am

    David this would be one step of many to correct the wrongs that suppress the programs at UH. All of the hands on that body hold it down. There is a solution…..but once again we get embarrassed on National TV during last nights game as they timelined the NCAA stuff, Mr. Foot in Mouth resigning and the Athletic Depts “asking” for money from the state. Ludicrous…..anyway I absolutley agree with your point. By the way I am the guy you met at Colorado State. You know the “southside” guy. I would not be sogentle in my assessment of this situation. Lets just get it done and done right. The people of the State the Alumni and fan base deserve this to be fixed

  5. Annoddah Dave December 24, 2014 7:31 am

    DR: The funding of UH athletics is a foundational deficiency that will continue to be a sore spot if things do not change. I believe that Title IX is the law which impacts many of the non-revenue generating collegiate sports. Therefore, I can see the State Legislature appropriating funding as a separate line item entry for Title IX support instead of inclusion in the general budget of UH. The Legislature may be precluded from line item support for UH athletics but for a law (Title IX), there should be some kind of exception. By doing this the State, will be helping UH athletics such that the revenue sports are not hampered by the non-revenue ones and lead to an overall better fiscal situation in the future.

  6. Les December 24, 2014 8:06 am

    The Governor and Lieutenant Governor along with many of the staff are alumni of UH. I am glad, no elated that they have pledged to support athetics. Talk of student activity fees charged to students. Staff and Faculty should be assessed at least two season tickets. If they have 5000 employees that would be 10000 tickets. They can go to the games or give them away. Payroll deductions, credit card or cash. Small price to pay.

  7. AdmrVT December 24, 2014 11:10 am

    #6. To the contrary, our new Governor has NOT come out publicly to state any support UH athletics. Actually, he has reportedly pointed to UH autonomy as a “roadblock” preventing any assistance specifically for UHAD.

    Perhaps the Lt. Gov. will find a way, and hopefully the Governor will support UH athletics too, and not just upper campus. If not, the majority of our Div. I athletes will need to go away — the opposite of what he said, i.e. work to keep the local kids home.

  8. Former UH Athlete December 24, 2014 9:48 pm

    This idea makes sense.

    However, doing things that make sense isn’t what UH is good at (see terms of UH’s contract with Aloha Stadium and every high ranking official being removed in the past couple years).

  9. 808 December 24, 2014 11:26 pm

    I think politicians will always use UH’s autonomy as a reason for not being able to do more.

    Ige and everyone in the state legislature will always point to autonomy as a road block: “I’d like to help but….” It works out for all politicians because they get to say they would like to help but…. then point to UH autonomy.

    Maybe this advisory board can make an impact on UH sports. First order, set up the advisory committee and make the needed changes regarding revenue generated by athletics. Overhaul the business model with UH and the stadium.

    Then, UH needs to get an AD who is a workaholic and a proven salesman. He needs to find the money for athletics from the business sector and not depend on the state.

    I hope this committee will be the catalyst for change UH athletics needs.

  10. malamaman December 25, 2014 6:03 am

    If its just another Commission i.e. the Police, Utility, Water, et al. without any teeth it won’t work. These people must have the empowerment to make the difference.

  11. Critical Reader December 25, 2014 12:44 pm

    There is great logical symmetry to this idea. But, it presumes that the Pro Bowl money to the NFL made sense in the first place, and the infusion of revenues reported by the Pro Bowl actually materialize. My own view is that Hawaii now is a high demand destination, and that occupancy WITHOUT NFL or UH/Hilo/Chaminade related visitors would be roughly the same, just with visitors coming with non-sports interests. In other words, I questions whether or not a football game against Washington actually INCREASES the tourist count that would otherwise be present in the State, and the dollars that would be spent, during that particular game week. The rooms Washington fans use would/could just as likely be filled by assorted people just enjoying their dream vacation in Hawaii. I’ve always considered the Pro Bowl money something the political elite spent because it was perceived as fun, cool, and spotlight to have the ProBowl here. Seems to me subsidizing big conventions with that kind of money could be just as effective.

  12. David J. December 25, 2014 6:57 pm

    I’m back! I was reading what all you have said!. That’s is why? I have so much respect for the people in Hawaii!. People of Hawaii always think about now and the future. And also there always respect other race!. That’s is why? The mainland don’t like us or respect like people!. But the worst place is Las Vegas!. You think prices are low over here you are done wrong!. Hawaii taxes is 4.5 but over here it’s 8.9 and planning to rise it up to 15.5!. I was reading about Aloha Stadium about remodeling it. I have say this the Aloha Stadium is still the most beautiful thing that Hawaii have!. Because the true is Las Vegas really needs a new stadium!. Sam Boyd Stadium is not a college program material. So many times that the State and City of Nevada were asking the Hotel business to give money to make a new football stadium. The CEO from all Hotels Business said NO!. But they makes a over million dollars rises every year!. Just like Caesars Palace in the first of the year. They’re filing chapter 11 and laying off good workers!. But the CEO got he 4.5 million dollars raises and already makes over 45 million dollars a year!. And same like other CEO from other hotels companies. But most all they really like the people from Hawaii to come to spend their money over here!. But when you leave here they really say you all are stupid!. Shouldn’t complaint the cost of living in Hawaii because you come to Vegas and spend all your money!. Just come down to it! Las Vegas is still running by the mobsters on mafia yet!. US Government don’t see it that way!. They’re is some many racial and sex for them not pick on female workers!. They’re tell no one the truth! . It’s happening in Hawaii but in the different ways!. For me to tell all great people of Hawaii! Fight for your right and tell your government to help out the University of Hawaii and find a way to do it! But not hurting the wonderful people of Hawaii!. I know that you really can do it!. Hawaiian and not Hawaiian aren’t stupid their are so smart and bright!. So come on and GO HAWAII & WARRIORS!!!!.

  13. Boya_jr December 25, 2014 8:09 pm

    I recently traveled from the mainland to Hawaii for a convention and thought, a football game or other sporting event is like a convention. Some additional perks are it can get broadcasted far and wide on TV, internet, etc. and as a visitor you are not stuck in hours and sometimes days of meetings but instead spending money doing travel activities. What is also great about traveling to Hawaii to watch UH sports is this tends to be during non peak travel time so the plane and hotel are cheaper (non summer). If that’s the case, makes sense to have HTA support our college athletics and invest in these programs.

  14. Maddog50 December 26, 2014 4:44 am

    Does anybody stop to consider the expenses incurred by Warrior Fb. I believe it to be in the area of 750k for Mountain West opponents alone. That money flows right back into the state economy for the most part, excluding charters. It is ridiculous that there is nothing offsetting this. Regarding the impact of visiting teams and the folks they bring with them. I was there for two games, spent two weeks and dropped 10k in travel expense. I saw several dozen just at my place alone of OSU fans and just as many NIU fans. The football season is the off season for travel to the Islands. Anybody who thinks that this is not great for the economy and HTA ought to do their homework. GoWarriors!!!!!

  15. 808 December 26, 2014 5:52 am

    This was a nice article about money brought into the state of Hawaii attributed to sporting events in Hawaii. By their own numbers, the state generates $200,000 million a year with free advertising for the state around the world.

    The article however does not specifically state visitors to Hawaii as it relates to MWC football teams that come to Hawaii to play the Warriors. It is safe to infer that each MWC team that come to Hawaii brings with them family members of the football team or fans associated to the football team. With that extra added family and fans support for their team, they bring in money to the state (travel, housing, meals, other spending in Hawaii).

    If there were no MWC football teams to play Hawaii for a football game, does the money brought in by their family and fan support be replaced by an equal amount from other influx tourist from the mainland or around the world?

    The HTA’s own report does not specifically adress that situstion. However, their own numbers show that sporting events in Hawaii bring in money for the state.

    I think it is safe to say that fans and family members of MWC football teams that play Hawaii bring in money to the state. It would nice if UH could get some money from HTA for UH’s contribution to the state tourism.

  16. 808 December 26, 2014 5:56 am


    The HTA’s own report does not specifically address the situation….

  17. boya_jr December 26, 2014 8:36 pm

    A Pac-12 heavy out-of-conference schedule (or my dream, Pac-XX conference membership) would do well in bringing teams from major West Coast markets (Seattle, Portland, SF/Oak/SJ, LA/OC, SLC, Denver), and maybe think even more outside the box with Asia/Pacific Rim/Brazil. If the sports commission can help set a strategy in collaboration between the University and the business/political system, and give the commission power, I think we will see a more powerful, economic impact generating UHAD. Just one paid guy (Ben Jay) trying to advocate the merits of UHAD to the business community might be too difficult.

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