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KAI RYSSDAL: The football pickin’s this weekend are kind of slim. Just the Pro Bowl game, the NFL’s all-star show, is Sunday in Miami. It’s the first time in 30 years the Pro Bowl hasn’t been played in Hawaii. And it’s also the first time it’s being played before the Super Bowl instead of after.
Marketplace’s Sarah Gardner reports the change in game plan has produced a hiccup or two.
Sarah Gardner: Playing the Pro Bowl used to be a nice perk for NFL players and their families: A little island vacation after a bruising season of football. To some players though, this year’s Pro Bowl is more like an inconvenient warm-up act to the Super Bowl. More than 30 of the players originally picked for the game have opted not to play this Sunday, citing injuries or more important commitments like preparing for the Super Bowl.
David Carter, who runs USC’s Sports Business Institute, says the NFL is simply trying to stage their all-star game while fans still have football on the brain.
David Carter: It is, however, causing quite a bit of problems with teams and players and other personnel for whom the week before the Super Bowl is already busy enough.
The NFL Players Association contends the game change is all about money. But an NFL spokesman said today the Pro Bowl’s always been a money loser and probably will be this year as well. It doesn’t help that the A-list players originally selected for the game still get paid tens of thousands, whether they end up opting out or not.
But Dan Kaplan, finance editor at Sports Business Journal thinks this Pro Bowl switcheroo may end up a winner.
Dan Kaplan: Let me ask you a question, have you ever done a segment on the Pro Bowl before?
Frankly, no. And that’s Kaplan’s point.
Kaplan: The Pro Bowl has never been more talked about than it is now, and they’ve already said they’re going to set an attendance record on Sunday night.
TV viewership may be another issue though. Turns out, the Pro Bowl will compete against the Grammy Awards that evening.
I’m Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.
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