The NFL's Pro Bowl is going to Disney World

June 1, 2016, 10:26 PM · The National Football League is moving its annual all-star game, the Pro Bowl, from Honolulu to Orlando this season, and the Walt Disney World Resort will host several events leading up to the game.

Unlike other sports leagues that play their all-star games in mid-season, the Pro Bowl plays at the end of the regular season. It used to happen the week after the Super Bowl championship, but in recent years, the league has been staging the Pro Bowl during the "off" week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl. The Pro Bowl for the upcoming season will be played at 8 pm (ET) on Sunday, January 29 in Orlando's Camping World Stadium (formerly known as the Citrus Bowl).

Disney-owned ESPN will broadcast the game, and Walt Disney World's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will host team practices. This year, the league is returning to the traditional game format where the NFC all-stars play the AFC all-stars, instead of having two former players pick teams, sandlot style. The Pro Bowl participants are selected by a vote of league players, although selected players from teams participating in the next week's Super Bowl will not take part in the Pro Bowl. Alternates will replace them.

Fans wanting to get a look at the Pro Bowl players will be able to see them during a parade at the Magic Kingdom in the days leading up to the game, and Disney Springs will host a variety of "Pro Bowl-themed elements" during the week, according to the league. Tickets to the game will go on sale in November, with season ticket holders to local NFL clubs and Florida Citrus Sports getting first dibs.

Replies (15)

June 1, 2016 at 11:05 PM

Keep trying NFL. This farce should have been ended years ago. The most pointless of the all-star games.

June 2, 2016 at 3:49 AM

Walt Disney World's commitment to sports and sporting events continues to thrive. The annual marathons/running events, the expansion of the Wide World of Sports complex and the NBA Experience at Disney Springs (along with yesterday's announcement are all great additions to Florida tourism.

June 2, 2016 at 6:21 AM

The Onion briefly had a sports TV show. In one report there was a terrorist event at the Pro Bowl killing everyone there. But since it was the Pro Bowl, that was only about 40 people.

June 2, 2016 at 6:31 AM

This will be a huge success in Orlando. The game had poor attendance in Hawaii because there is not enough local population to support it, and not enough tourists willing to give up a beach day to hike to the game. It did OK but not great at the Super Bowl host site because most Super Bowl tourist don't arrive a week early. Moving it to an international tourist destination that also has a football starved local population is incredibly smart.

June 2, 2016 at 6:59 AM

OK, so then if you are a DVC member, will you get free tickets to the game?? Or is that only if ticket sales leading up to the game are low?

June 2, 2016 at 7:26 AM

Pro Bowl should be revamped if not completely done away with. It could make for a more entertaining game. Also Hawaiian Pro Bowls are the only legitimate ones.

June 2, 2016 at 8:54 AM

Orlando landing next year's Wrestlemania event is a much bigger deal than this. Without the lure of a free family trip to Hawaii, even fewer star players will participate and I agree with Court's comment that it should either be revamped or just done away with at this point. I doubt Orlando sees any bump in visitors for hosting.

Wrestlemania, on the other hand, consists of a week-long celebration and countless festivities well integrated throughout the host city. It brings in tens of thousands of fans from around the world each year, many of whom may have never visited Orlando before and will be eager to explore all the incredible attractions. Cities actually compete to host Wrestlemania each year, submitting bids like the olympics, as it is such an economic boom for the host. Orlando hosted back in 2008 and it was a major success. Hosting again in 2017 will be similarly terrific for Florida tourism.

June 2, 2016 at 11:09 AM

Yeah, sitting here in Honolulu, I have a slightly different perspective on this than most, I would imagine. Orlando's economy needs the Pro Bowl game about as much as Floridians need another hole in their heads, whereas, our Oahu tourist-dependent economy will again feel a huge loss of Pro Bowl-related income next year. Hard to be excited about this in any way.

June 2, 2016 at 12:18 PM

I keep waiting for Central Florida to court The Summer Olympics. It could take place between Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami. With all the professional sports and Universities in the state, I'd imagine most of the needed facilities are already in place. One link in the chain that I think really still needs to be added is high-speed rail to like all four of the above mentioned cities together. Once that happens (and it really ought to happen) I imagine a bid would be soon to follow. Fingers crossed.

June 2, 2016 at 3:34 PM

"You just won the Pro Bowl! What are you going to do next?"

"I'm going to...oh wait."

June 2, 2016 at 5:06 PM

The Aloha Stadium is in really bad condition. Too bad for Hawaii. The Pro Bowl is an embarrassment. Not watchable football. They should turn it into something else like rookie players who need a chance to shine. Anyways, ESPN is a political landmine. I wonder how much they paid only to screw over the players.

June 2, 2016 at 5:24 PM

Yes, too bad for Hawaii, losing that - agree with the poster from there.

Also, the timing seems bad, just before the Super Bowl. I have heard complaints since they made it that way. The players that are in both are at risk of injury in a not-so-important exhibition and could get hurt before the "big one".
It may be a better venue for the game, but Honolulu could use that money. Something should be done by the NFL to make it better for everyone involved.

June 2, 2016 at 5:47 PM

Wok-Players in the Super Bowl don't play in the Pro Bowl. That would be nuts.

June 2, 2016 at 8:21 PM

The average NFL player's salary is over $5 million/year. If a player wants to take their family to Hawaii, they don't need to Pro Bowl spot. They can just pay for it.

This move will certainly increase attendance. There are 20 million people living in Florida that can drive to Orlando. (Hawaii's population is 1.4 million.) Add in drivers from neighboring states and you'll easily have enough folk to fill the stadium. That doesn't even consider the number of people that can fly to Orlando in under 3 hours.

The Orlando move will also make the trip much cheaper. The entire state of Hawaii has about 50,000 hotel rooms. The greater Orlando area has 118,000 rooms. More rooms theoretically means cheaper rates.

June 8, 2016 at 2:40 PM

The truth of the matter is that moving the Pro-Bowl to Orlando provides normal families across North America to actually travel to the game and the festivities surrounding it. Many more Canadians and Americans can afford trips to Orlando rather than to Hawaii. With the added benefit of having a Disney vacation mixed in to boot!!

Did someone say WrestleMania? Does anyone actually watch the WWE anymore?

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive