New Entertainment and Sports Office Introduced by Sen. Gabbard

HONOLULU -February 6, 2008- A proposal to create a new state agency that would promote the entertainment and sports industries of Hawaii has been introduced by Senator Mike Gabbard (Dist. 19- Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia, Makakilo, Kapolei, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Portions of Waipahu and Ko 'Olina).

"With the success of the UH football program and the Lost TV show, it's critical that we take advantage of this opportunity," Gabbard said. "Over 325 states and cities in the U.S. have had success in creating authorities and commissions. We should be positioning ourselves as a center for these important industries in the Pacific region and Asia."

SB 2362 would establish an Entertainment and Sports Authority with the goal of marketing, promoting, developing, and coordinating entertainment and sports-related activities and events in the state.

The Authority would be housed in the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism and have a policy-making board similar in structure to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Funding for the agency would come from the Transient Accommodation Tax, legislative appropriations, gifts and grants, and interests and revenues generated by the Authority.

Gabbard envisions the Entertainment and Sports Authority acting as a clearinghouse to bring together all of Hawaii's entertainment and sports-related businesses, clubs, trade associations, and government agencies to maximize their potential growth and development.

"The Authority would help these industries establish their own voice in promoting our state to the rest of the world," Gabbard continued. "Given that the U.S. sports industry alone is worth over $200 billion, the potential is enormous."

SB 2362 will be heard by the Senate Economic Development and Taxation/Tourism and Government Operations committees on Thursday, February 7th at 1:15pm in Conference Room 229 at the State Capitol. The bill can be accessed by visiting the State Capitol website at this link: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2008/bills/SB2362_.htm.

For more information, please contact Senator Gabbard's office at 586-6830.