A New Stadium Is Coming to Honolulu By 2026

Lots of questions remain.

It appears the state of Hawaii is moving ahead with plans to replace Aloha Stadium with a stadium-village. The Honolulu facility opened on September 12th, 1975 and closed on December 17th, 2020 because of financial issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic and structural problems. During its 45-year run, the stadium was the home of the University of Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors, and hosted 35 National Football League Pro Bowl games from 1980 through 2016. The World Football League’s Hawaiians performed there in 1975 and the stadium was the last place where the WFL snapped a football. Minor League Baseball’s Hawaii Islanders of the Pacific Coast League used the place from 1976 until 1987. The North American Soccer League’s Team Hawaii played home games in the stadium in 1977. In 1979, MLB’s San Diego Padres played a three-game preseason series against the Seibu Lions of Japan’s Pacific League at the stadium. In 1997, MLB held a three-game regular season series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Padres at the stadium. In August 2019, the stadium hosted its last NFL event, a preseason game between the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys.

There are some questions about what is next. Hawaii has allocated $400 million in public money to help build a stadium district. But there is a small yet significant problem. The state has not picked a developer for the stadium-village. There are three finalists vying to build a 35,000-seat stadium along with the office, retail and residential space. Hawaiian officials are hoping the stadium will be ready for the 2026 University of Hawaii and Hawai’i’s high school football seasons. The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet and Marketplace, which is Hawaii’s largest open-air market, figures to survive.

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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)