ESPN To Air 2010 Pro Bowl Week Before Super Bowl XLIV

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The NFL is moving the 2010 Pro Bowl from Hawaii to Miami.

ESPN will televise the pro football league’s all-star game slated for Jan. 31, 2010 in Dolphin Stadium, a week before the venue hosts Super Bowl XLIV.

The Pro Bowl, which has been hosted in Hawaii -- including the upcoming contest on Feb. 8 that will be televised by NBC -- for the past 30 years, has been a difficult television draw in that the game follows the Super Bowl.

“ESPN presents year-round coverage of the NFL and will work together with the league to promote the 2010 Pro Bowl as one of the kickoff events to Super Bowl XLIV week in South Florida,” said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, program acquisitions and strategy, in a statement.

The site and date of Pro Bowl games after 2010 will be determined at a later date and could include playing the game on a rotating basis in Honolulu, host of the NFL’s All-Star game since 1980.

Under the existing six-year TV contract with the networks that expires after the 2011 season, the broadcaster that televises the Super Bowl has the right to televise the Pro Bowl, according to an NFL spokesman. CBS will televise Super Bowl XLIV in Miami.

“We are looking at alternatives to strengthen the Pro Bowl,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement. “We will continue to work with the players to make it a great event and will evaluate this concept after the 2010 Pro Bowl.”

Added NFL senior vice president of events Frank Supovitz: “Moving the Pro Bowl to the Sunday prior to the Super Bowl can add even more excitement to Super Bowl week, one of the most anticipated weeks of the year. Taking the Pro Bowl to new locations can showcase our top players to more fans around the country. We are also in discussions with key leaders in Hawaii to continue our partnership with the State of Hawaii, which has embraced the Pro Bowl for 30 years.”

Players on the Super Bowl rosters who have been named to the Pro Bowl will not participate in the all-star game.