(Reuters) - The National Football League’s annual exhibition of all-stars, the Pro Bowl, will move from its long-time home in Hawaii to Orlando for next year, the league announced on Wednesday.
The central Florida city had been bidding to host the 2017 Pro Bowl along with Honolulu, Houston and Sydney, Australia.
“We are excited to re-imagine the Pro Bowl experience for both fans and players and to celebrate the game of football at all levels,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.
“Collaborating with Disney and ESPN brings us closer to the best in youth and family-focused entertainment. We look forward to working with the city of Orlando and Florida Citrus Sports to create a week-long celebration for football and our fans.”
The 2017 Pro Bowl will mark a return to the traditional format between the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference, following a three-year experiment with unconferenced squads.
Only twice since 1979 has the Pro Bowl been held outside Hawaii with Miami playing host in 2010 and Glendale, Arizona in 2015. In every other year, the all-star game was held at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
The Pro Bowl, which has had plummeting television ratings in recent years, is held the weekend before the Super Bowl, serving as the signature event to kick off the league’s biggest week of the year.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Andrew Both