Tickets for Rams-Cowboys game at Aloha Stadium selling fast
(Source: Star Advertiser)
Los Angeles Rams President and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff had just about finished his media interviews at the Hawai‘i Convention Center on Thursday morning when an incoming text suddenly seized his attention.
Demoff stared at the phone, doing a quick double take.
Just an hour — and barely out the door — after the press conference laying out plans for the Rams to play the Dallas Cowboys in an Aug. 17 preseason game at Aloha Stadium, Demoff said the text had notified him that “We’ve already sold 2,500 (tickets).”
When the Rams’ offices in California had closed for the day, a team spokesman said distribution was “approaching” a half-filled Aloha Stadium, where capacity is listed at 50,000. By the end of business at the stadium box office in Halawa, the count had reached 28,000.
“Wow, tickets are going fast. Thought I was smooth by clicking in soon after the story was posted,” a ticket buyer posted on the comment section on the Star-Advertiser website. “Got mine in section ‘K’ orange when it was half (available on the seating map). By the time I finished the purchase, the section was just about sold out.”
That the first NFL preseason game in Hawaii since 1976, when the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers drew 36,364 to a then year-old Aloha Stadium, was generating that level of interest was welcomed by the sponsoring Hawaii Tourism Authority, which envisions the game as a “pilot program” of sorts to build new NFL relationships.
HTA President and CEO Chris Tatum said the goal is to build ties with the Rams beyond their current one-year contract as well as send a message to the rest of the NFL. “In talking to Kevin, I think the experience they have this year will tell the NFL and the rest of the teams whether this is a really good venue (for future ventures),” Tatum said.
It has been three years since the NFL severed its four-decade relationship with the state by uprooting its annual all-star game, the Pro Bowl, for which the HTA had paid $5.2 million in 2016, and moving it to Orlando, Fla.
To get its foot back in pro football, the HTA is paying $2 million for a yearlong marketing partnership with the Rams which includes signage and media opportunities at the team’s games in Southern California, the HTA’s largest visitor market.
For the Cowboys game, the Rams will keep the ticket revenue and be responsible for both teams’ travel and lodging. Aloha Stadium will retain parking and concessions revenue and receive rent, which combined are projected to give the facility more than a $200,000 boost above what it got when the Pro Bowl was played here.
It follows on the heels of a partnership with the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, who are scheduled to return to Honolulu in the fall for a third training camp and exhibition game, Tatum confirmed.
The Rams became the leading candidate to bring a preseason game back here because their new $4.9 billion home, LA Stadium, isn’t scheduled to open until 2020, and renovation of their interim venue, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, will continue into the summer.
But when the Rams’ new facility opens, it is unlikely the team will be in a position to return to Aloha Stadium as a host team for at least a while, which is why the HTA is hoping the game makes a good impression leaguewide. “As we go forward, it seems like somebody always has some kind of stadium (issues) going on, so there could be future openings if the Rams and Cowboys have a good experience,” Tatum said.
Depending on how things go, Demoff said, “Even if hosting doesn’t work out for us, (in the near future) there might be ways to continue our relationship longer term. We view this as an opportunity to build a relationship, not just a game. I do think there are possibilities as we move forward not just for a preseason game, but training camps for the offseason, minicamps, clinics, etc. We might even be interested in coming back as a (visiting) team.”
As for this year, Demoff said, “Obviously, it would be fantastic to have a sellout, and that is our goal — and the Cowboys’ goal — to make that a reality.”
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It’s the first NFL preseason game in Hawaii since 1976.
>> When: 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at Aloha Stadium
>> Tickets: Available on TheRams.com/Hawaii and on-site at Aloha Stadium.
>> Rams and Cowboys each expect to hold at least one open practice while in Honolulu.
>> Rams will conduct several community engagement opportunities for youth including an 11-on-11 tournament and skills competition featuring 16 local high school teams.
>> Rams’ cheerleaders and mascot will visit local schools.
>> Rams will have military engagement programs.