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Hawaii's Pan-Pacific Tourney Aims for Pro Bowl Luster
The Honolulu Advertiser, February 18th, 2008 5:45PM

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If Honolulu loses the NFL Pro Bowl (which it may once the state's contract with the league expires next year), then soccer's Pan-Pacific Championship might come to fill the economic void -- or at least part of it, says the Honolulu Advertiser's Michael Tsai. Why? For one thing, an international field featuring the L.A. Galaxy, Houston Dynamo, Sydney FC and Japan's Gamba Osaka should draw international interest. David Beckham, of course, is the main draw, but Honolulu-born Brian Ching of the Dynamo is expected to ramp up local interest. Because the tournament was only announced in November, the marketing effort hasn't been as big as tournament organizer Soccer United Marketing (Major League Soccer's marketing arm) would have liked, although a few hundred Japanese tourists are expected to make the trip.

Then there's the media attention: wherever Beckham goes, cameras are sure to follow, and sure enough, the Pan-Pacific tourney will be broadcast live in the U.S. (on ESPN Classic), as well as in Japan, China and Malaysia. According to the report, broadcast arrangements are also being finalized in Canada, Australia, Vietnam, China, South Korea and elsewhere. Pretty impressive for a tournament that was only announced in November.

"Hawai'i is in a geographically perfect location in the pan-Pacific region," said Will Wilson, head of international marketing for SUM, which is staging the event. "I hope the groundswell of excitement that this is generating internationally will translate into local interest," he added.

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