NFL shoots for making Pro Bowl 'must-see' event

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Alex Marvez

Alex Marvez is a Senior NFL Writer for He has covered the NFL for the past 18 seasons as a beat writer and is the former president of the Pro Football Writers of America. He also is a frequent host on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

Are you ready for some hoopla? The NFL will be adding bells and whistles to promote the first mainland Pro Bowl in 35 years.
Ticket prices will reflect that as well when the league's annual all-star game is played during the Super Bowl off-week for the first time on January 31, 2010 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens. Seats that aren't purchased by Miami Dolphins season-ticket holders in a first offering will be priced at the "scale of a wild-card game" when placed on sale to the general public in October, NFL Senior Vice President of Events Frank Supovitz told on Wednesday. The cheapest tickets for the 2008 wild-card game between Miami and visiting Baltimore were $46, but most cost significantly more than that. Dolphins season-ticket holders can purchase Pro Bowl seats for the same price as a 2009 home game. That cost ranges between $31 and $105, although tickets between the goal lines begin at $70. Supovitz said most Pro Bowl tickets will be under $100 and the pricing is less than the cost earlier this year in Hawaii, the game's host for the past 30 years. The NFL will have to sell roughly 22,000 more tickets for a Dolphin Stadium sell-out compared to 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium. If the Pro Bowl isn't sold out before kickoff, it will not be telecast locally in South Florida. It's unknown how many of the Pro Bowl's 25,000 season-ticket holders will attend the game in South Florida. Most out-of-town fans Super Bowl fans won't be arriving in South Florida until later the following week. That leaves the NFL trying to entice a traditionally finicky sports market. "We've got more seats to sell in a market that hasn't seen the Pro Bowl (live) in 35 years," Supovitz said. "It's a great opportunity and a challenge to communicate how exciting the Pro Bowl experience can be because it hasn't been here in so long." Location isn't the only change for this year's Pro Bowl. With kickoff also moved to the Sunday before Super Bowl XLIV, that date will preclude Pro Bowl honorees in the Super Bowl from participating. But the Pro Bowl can now serve as a platform to begin week-long Super Bowl hype. The Pro Bowl kickoff was moved to prime time and will be telecast at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. NFL executives and South Florida officials have met this week in Fort Lauderdale to continue planning for Super Bowl XLIV and the Pro Bowl. Free family-friendly festivities, including the NFL's flag-football national championship tournament, will be offered outside the stadium on game day starting 9½ hours before Pro Bowl kickoff. The NFL also is expected to add in-stadium festivities, like a pregame celebrity musical appearance to bolster ticket sales. "There will be a lot more (pregame) pageantry," Supovitz said. The Pro Bowl will return to Hawaii in 2011 and 2012, which is the host site that a majority of last year's players said they preferred. But if the mainland 2010 Pro Bowl is a success, the NFL could consider rotating the game between Hawaii and the continental U.S. in future years. "We believe this can be a tremendous opportunity for those who really cannot participate in the Super Bowl experience, which is really cost-prohibitive for a lot of folks," said Rodney Barreto, the Super Bowl XLIV host committee chairman. "We hope the concept works. We'll have to wait and see."
Tagged: Dolphins

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