The NFL Pro Bowl is scheduled to return to Las Vegas in early 2023. The exact date of pro football’s all-star game is still to be determined, but the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) said it “could be” played on Feb. 5, 2023, seven days before the Super Bowl. The LVCVA has already approved footing the game’s $1.75 million hosting fee.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert was the 2022 Pro Bowl’s Offensive MVP. The Pro Bowl returns to Las Vegas next year. (Image: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Las Vegas successfully hosted its first Pro Bowl this year, at Allegiant Stadium. It had been set to host the 2021 Pro Bowl, too, but that was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Building on the incredible success of the 2022 Pro Bowl and 2022 draft in Las Vegas, we are thrilled to bring the 2023 Pro Bowl back to the city for the second year and continue our partnership with the LVCVA and the Las Vegas Raiders,” an unnamed NFL spokesperson said in a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Exciting Pro Bowl changes are ahead, and we look forward to sharing more details in the coming weeks.”
The Pro Bowl, which pits top players in the American Football Conference against those in the National Football Conference, was first held in 1939. Unlike most major North American sports leagues, which hold their all-star games midway through their regular seasons, the Pro Bowl is usually played post-season.
Game Nearly Spiked
In May, NFL owners discussed the possibility of eliminating the football game entirely.
“I think the conclusion was that the game itself doesn’t work,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the league’s Spring League Meeting, “and that we needed to find a different way to celebrate our players.”
At issue is the desire for players to avoid getting injured in a game that doesn’t count toward team standings or player statistics. As a result, the Pro Bowl includes neither tackling nor kickoffs.
Yes, being chosen to play in the Pro Bowl is one of the highest honors an NFL player can receive. Selection for it even figures into Pro Football Hall of Fame nominations. However, the Pro Bowl itself is a mostly forgettable game of two-handed touch that typically draws lower television ratings than regular-season games.
A Host City Touchdown
Still, Pro Bowls are a touchdown for the cities who host them. The 2022 game, attended by more than 45,000 fans, brought in nearly 30,000 tourists and generated an estimated $54.7 million for the Las Vegas economy, according to the LVCVA.
A week-long lead-up to the Pro Bowl also includes festivities that allow fans to meet their favorite players. These include youth football activities and the fan-favorite skills challenge held at Las Vegas Ballpark.
While addressing his problems with the game, Goodell added: “We talked an awful lot about some of the (extremely popular) events around the Pro Bowl … so those are things that we’ll probably build on.”