Boots & Sabers

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2147, 21 Mar 15

No Plans for New Bucks Arena


Gov. Scott Walker has proposed a $220 million bonding plan, but spent most of his time on the presidential campaign trail.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) has said the governor’s bonding number is too high; Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) has said Walker’s plan was nearly dead, and he was working on an alternative.

Locally, one of the major tenants at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, Marquette University, says it won’t put any money in the pot. The school says it prefers to be a tenant.

Mayor Tom Barrett has committed help, but says he doesn’t have money and won’t raise property taxes. County Executive Chris Abele says he doesn’t want to do anything that will “burden local taxpayers or result in cuts in services.”

Each constituency wants somebody else to provide more details or start putting more money on the table.

As for the Bucks, they appear to have settled for a site north of the BMO Harris Bradley Center, which was not a location they wanted. And they have not provided cost estimates or detailed their ideas on anticipated ancillary development.

“Everything’s fragmented right now,” said Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), co-chair of the Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. “I’m looking forward to seeing a project on the table.”

I put this 100% on the Bucks’ owners. Like it or not, everybody is showing a willingness to help pay for an arena from the state to the county to the city. But at this point, the Bucks’ owners haven’t put forth a plan. All they have said is that they will not spend any more than $250 million of their own money. OK… so where will the arena be? How much will it cost? What will the design look like? Will there be other tenants? Will it be integrated into any other local attractions? Will it be a multi-use entertainment complex like many of the other new arenas are?

The owners are asking everybody else to commit to paying for a new arena without even bothering to put forth the skeleton of a plan.

Personally, I question the use of any tax dollars to pay for an arena for billionaires so that millionaires can play in it while upper-class Milwaukeeans watch from the stands.


2147, 21 March 2015


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    Let ’em go.

    Team stinks for 3 decades now.

    Even libs are not calling for subsidies of the billionaire owners of the Bucks. (which is surprising, because libs constantly call for subsidy of the rich, like billionaire Warren Buffett.) Republicans should not be endorsing any subsidy here.

  2. dad29

    “Everybody” is willing to help?

    Barrett will not spend a dime, and Abele seems to be saying the same thing.

    As to the owners: face it. The team’s value rises exponentially if they are NOT in Milwaukee. So slow-rolling is in their interest.

  3. Paul

    By recent trends, Milwaukee is better off waiting it out and letting the leverage disappear.

    If and when Seattle builds an arena — and that’s not even beyond reviews at this point — the latest word is that the NHL is going to get the first shot at the Seattle market. If that happens, is likely the NBA will want to go head-to-head there.

    So if Seattle isn’t an option, there really isn’t a whole lot of places the Bucks could go. Louisville, Norfolk and Kansas City are fringe options at best.

  4. steveegg

    Speaking of “stepping up”, where’s the Milwaukee business community? Oh, that’s right; they’re merely cheerleaders (for) spending other people’s money.

  5. Wisconsin Conservative Digest

    First the request is 380 million with the interest. No way will anyone out state, vote to cut schools 127 million and then give 380 million to 2 billionaires. No one has seen the contract between NBA and Bucks to see if there is option to stay at Bradley Center. Only hearsay.

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