Hawaii Bowl May Need A New Home in 2021

The old stadium has financial difficulties.

It is Christmas Eve and, in the sports world, it is pretty quiet or supposed to be quiet. Under normal circumstances, the National Basketball Association would have no games scheduled and the National Hockey League would have begun its three-day holiday shut down. The Hawaii Bowl would have been played but there is the COVID-19 pandemic. The game has been an afternoon affair in Oahu but a night time TV contest on most of the mainland. The future of the Hawaii Bowl is very much in question, not because of the virus, but because there appears to be no stadium available in the foreseeable future. The stadium is being shuttered because of financial problems. The University of Hawaii plays its games in the 45-year-old stadium which seemingly was headed for the wrecking ball. People can check tours of the Napali Coast here.  State officials think the stadium has some real safety issues. There was a plan to replace the stadium with a small facility. But the state legislature could not figure out how to proceed in its 2020 session. In 2021, the Hawaii legislature will attempt to come up with a plan to give greater power to a stadium authority to build a new facility and develop the land around the structure. The state needs someone to step up and develop the stadium-village concept.

The stadium hosts high school sports, band competitions and graduation ceremonies. Outside the stadium there are swap meets and the parking lot is rented for private functions. The pandemic has crippled the stadium’s finances. There is a Christmas light show taking place in the parking lot which allows cars to drive through the parking lot and people inside the cars to see the light show. The parking lot activities will continue. The January 31st Hula Bowl is still scheduled but there will be no customers in the building for the game if it is played.

File-This Feb. 7, 1993, file photo shows Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino (13) of the AFC squad, under pressure from New Orleans linebacker Rickey Jackson (57) and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Reggie White (92) of the NFC squad in the first quarter of the Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii. TV ratings for the Pro Bowl lag below all the prime time regular season games, and the on-field intensity and drama that fuels so much of the national interest in the sport is nonexistent. The annual all-star exhibition does not lack for history, however, with a genesis traced back to the 1938 season. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)