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.