ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Pro Bowl is heading to Orlando, Florida, in 2017.
A joint news conference featuring Disney, ESPN and the NFL will take place Wednesday in Florida to announced a change in venue for the NFL’s all-star festivities from mainstay Honolulu, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday, per sources informed of the deal.
The 2017 Pro Bowl will be played in Orlando, per Rapoport, the first year of a multi-year deal to play the game in central Florida.
The NFL has been tinkering with its Pro Bowl formula over the past five seasons due in part to mounting criticism surrounding the game. The event returned to Hawaii this past season after attaching itself to the Super Bowl site (Arizona) back in 2015.
Aloha Stadium has been the host of the Pro Bowl nearly every season since 1979.
The news conference likely will touch on an endless array of tie-in opportunities between Orlando, broadcast partner ESPN and its parent company, Disney, which has a massive, sprawling theme park in the area. Florida has not hosted a Pro Bowl since 2009, when the game was played at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. Matt Schaub led the AFC to a 41-34 victory.
There is no word on whether format changes to the Pro Bowl will also be announced. Since 2013, the league has gone with unconferenced Pro Bowls led by legends of the game like Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin.