The NFL Pro Bowl has a new home, at least for the next few years. The game will be moving from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii to Camping World Stadium, formerly known as the Citrus Bowl, in Orlando, Fla. The new multi-year deal was formally announced Wednesday.
Aside from the location, the biggest change to the Pro Bowl is a return to the AFC vs. NFC format. For the past three years, the league has employed a draft to select teams from the pool of 88 players from both conferences. The players selected to participate in the Pro Bowl will continue to be determined by votes from fans, players and coaches.
The Pro Bowl has been played in Hawaii in 31 of the past 32 years. It moved to Miami's Sun Life Stadium for a season in 2009 before heading back to Hawaii in 2010. The only other location to host the game for consecutive years other than Aloha Stadium is the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, in the 1970-71 seasons.
The game is coming off a season in which its ratings fell to a 5.6, a significant drop-off from the 7.7 the game drew in 2013. The game now takes place during the bye week prior to the Super Bowl, preventing players from both Super Bowl teams from competing in the game.
Most players don't want to play in the game, either. Last year the league had to invite 133 players to the game in order to find 88 willing to play. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has also tried to get rid of the game in the past, only to receive push back from the players association.
ESPN owns the rights to broadcast the Pro Bowl for the next six years.