The state wants to allow commercial shops at Aloha Stadium and to rent the 50,000-seat facility for private use when it’s not being used for sports. As presented to lawmakers by State Comptroller Russ Saito, the plan is all about raising money.

The Aloha Stadium Authority has already beefed up Swap Meet regulations, added concessions, and tried drive-in movies. They just sunk more than $100 million into repair and renovation work on the 35-year-old “rust bucket” to keep it in operation for another 20 years.

But the stadium is a steel and concrete dinosaur. On the mainland, the trend has long been to tie corporate sponsorship and naming rights to a sports facility (e.g., Denver’s Pepsi Center, San Francisco’s AT&T Park), but Hawaii has no professional sports teams.

Even with the upgrades, Aloha Stadium will never be a state-of-the-art facility; no wonder the NFL moved the Pro Bowl to Miami this year and next.

About the Author