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Marketing Hawai‘i as a Sports Center

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There's a lot happening with sports in Hawai?i right now, but industry leaders think there could be more.

Between the Vans Triple Crown of surfing, the Maui Invitational college basketball tournament and the Los Angeles Rams lined up to play a pre-season game at the Aloha Stadium next year, there are a lot of reasons why sports fans are paying attention to Hawai?i.

PBN recently assembled a roundtable of industry leaders for their take on what Hawai?i could do to boost sports marketing. One idea: an independent state sports commission focused on bringing big-name sports to the Islands, a role traditionally played by the Hawai?i Tourism Authority. Ray Stosik, president of 141 Premiere Sports and Entertainment, says a sports commission in Houston has succeeded. But past proposals for Hawai‘i have been shot down.

Sean Dee, executive vice president with Outrigger and an HTA board member, says that’s because of the specific proposals rather than the general idea. He said the proposed entities would’ve been underfunded, with unclear responsibilities.

Credit 8th Theater Sustainment Command PAO / Flickr

While Hawai?i’s beauty is always a lure, it takes more than scenery to make a successful sporting event. That takes money and facilities. Justin George, co-founder of golf promoters GS Events, says there simply aren’t that many deep-pocketed corporations in the Islands to underwrite the kind of costs that go into internationally televised sporting events. And all of the roundtable agreed that aging facilities like the Aloha Stadium and Neal S. Blaisdell Center are a turn-off to sports accustomed to more modern venues.

A. Kam Napier is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News.
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