I just read “How to make the Pro Bowl relevant”. My first reaction to the title was “relevant to what?”. Apparently there is some discussion within the NFL of moving the Pro Bowl to the week before the Super Bowl, possibly even at the site of the Super Bowl.
Comments on the blog point out that doing so is problematic for players on Super Bowl teams who are Pro Bowlers. That could naturally be a fair number of players. Clearly there are bugs to be worked out or facts to which Peter King was not privy or unwilling to disclose. Nonetheless, the basic issue of relevant to whom or for what remains.
If, as the article suggests, the Pro Bowl is played the weekend before the Super Bowl in the host city of the Super Bowl, the change is surely relevant to sports economists. We will eventually have a new mega-event whose impact on the local economy will need to be assessed. I would place the likelihood of major impacts on the host city at slim to none, but that may just be me being a dismal scientist.
I suspect that Honolulu will find the change relevant as well. I doubt the impact of the Pro Bowl game on the Honolulu economy is all that impressive, but you can be sure Honolulans will lament the loss of the game and blame the mayor, governor, and the decrepit state of the stadium for the loss.
I don’t go so far as one commentator on the article who says that all the all star games are irrelevant and should be canceled. Lots of people enjoy home run derbies and slam dunk contests. Many people enjoy watching all star games for the exhibitions that they are. Perhaps a way to make the Pro Bowl relevant is to embrace it as an exhibition. How about running an NFL combine type event for established players so someone can be anointed the NFL’s fastest or strongest man each season? Maybe they could have a punt, pass, and kick competition for NFL players in the days before the game.
Honestly, to me, if the revenues, from tickets, broadcasting, and so on, cover the costs, and people derive consumer surplus from the events, that strikes me as all the relevance the Pro Bowl and all the other all star games really need.