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"Our residents, visitors, military, and many others look forward to this exciting event," he added. "There is electricity in the air when the Pro Bowl is approaching and the festive atmosphere continues even after the game as people stay here to enjoy our beautiful island home. The Pro Bowl has long had the support of the city and county of Honolulu."
David Uchiyama, the chief negotiator for the tourism authority in its talks with the NFL, said the state is pushing to follow the current one-year deal with a longer agreement that would put the Pro Bowl in Honululu at least five times in seven years.
Uchiyama said the current deal's financial terms were similar to the previous one, with the state paying the league about $4.2 million to host the game. He added his talks with the league have included introducing longer-term ideas that reach far beyond the Pro Bowl, such as establishing a developmental league based in Hawaii.
"That's really a dream," he said.
Goodell had expressed his displeasure with this year's game several times, acknowledging it could be scrapped if the level of play doesn't improve.
"The issue is we recognize it is an all-star game, but we also believe fans expect more from an NFL game," he said recently. "If we believe we can achieve that, we want to give them every opportunity to do that."
For last January's game, TV ratings were strong, with 12.5 million viewers, making the Pro Bowl the most watched of all all-star games for the 2011 season.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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