In its latest attempt to improve the Pro Bowl, the NFL has decided to relocate the all-star game to Orlando, Fla., NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports. With the exception of the 2009 edition of the game, the Pro Bowl has taken place in Honolulu every year since 1979.
The sinking popularity of the Pro Bowl likely explains the move from Honolulu to Orlando. In recent years, the NFL has attempted to freshen up the game by removing conference ties to the rosters and creating a made-for-TV fantasy draft of the players. Though this has led to some more interesting matchups, it has not covered up the fact that the top stars rarely attend the game, and the few that do simply play to avoid injury, creating a limiting competitive environment.
By taking the game to Florida, the NFL removes significant overhead costs related to the Pro Bowl. Players selected to the game can bring multiple members of their family, a significant expense when the game took place in Hawaii. However, airfare to Orlando, even in first class, understandably totals for much less.
At some point, the league has to consider either overhauling the game to make it enticing to its best players or ditch it altogether. Millions of fans still watch the Pro Bowl, but that number has steadily fallen over the past few years. Even in America, where football reigns supreme, the product has to improve in order to retain the nation's attention.