Bruce Murphy
Murphy’s Law

10 Key Issues in NBA Arena Debate

Will the new owners get tax support? It all depends on these ten issues.

By - Apr 24th, 2014 11:31 am
BMO Harris Bradley Center

BMO Harris Bradley Center

There were smiles on the faces of countless basketball fans and Milwaukee boosters after it was announced that the new owners of the Milwaukee Bucks would put up $100 million for a new NBA arena, matching $100 million that current owner Herb Kohl also promised to contribute. This suddenly made it look more feasible to get taxpayer support for a new NBA arena, something that’s been discussed since 1999 without any getting any traction.

Still, it won’t be easy. Right now you can bet that civic leaders like Tim Sheehy, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce President, and Marc Marotta, chairman of the BMO Harris Bradley Center, are feverishly strategizing to figure out the most attractive plan, with the most insignificant-sounding tax contribution possible, to sell politicians and voters on the project. Their success will depend on many issues, but these may be the ten most important:

Selling the New Owners: That won’t be easy. Co-owners Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens are both hedge fund plutocrats. According to Forbes, Lasry is the 352nd wealthiest American with an estimated net worth of 1.5 billion. Edens was ranked 297th in 2007, with a net worth of $1.6 billion, but his fortune declined significantly in the economic meltdown and his shares of his Fortress Investment Group LLC are now worth in the neighborhood of $468 million, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has estimated. Convincing taxpayers to subsidize gazillionaires is generally impossible (Possible ad copy: “After all, only one of the owners is a billionaire”). But it helps that Lasry and Edens so far seem likable, diplomatic and super-positive, not unlike Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, who is very popular with the state’s baseball fans.

Finding More Investors: There’s been talk of bringing aboard some local investors, including Attanasio, Craig Leipold of Racine, who owns the NHL’s Minnesota Wild; Jon Hammes of the Hammes Co.; and popular former Bucks star Junior Bridgeman, who has an ownership stake in the Sacramento Kings. That would help make the ownership look less like elite carpetbaggers from New York and might provide more contributions to the new arena, further lowering the tax subsidy needed. Why would they pitch in? The ever-rising sales price for NBA franchises might make that a pretty good investment. After all, Kohl paid $19 million in 1985 and sold the team for $550 million (minus his $100 million contribution to the new arena). Few investments get a better return than a pro sports team.

Downplaying The San Francisco Model. No sooner did the new owners buy the Bucks then we learned the Golden State Warriors will be building a new arena in San Francisco that will be financed entirely by the team.  That’s right, no tax subsidies; the 20-investor ownership group will pay for it all — you know, like it’s a business. Of course, Milwaukee is a much smaller, less lucrative market and that will be used to banish Frisco from your fantasies.

Selling the Economic Impact: By now, you probably know these arguments by heart, all those fabled restaurants and hotels and shoe shine stands a new arena is sure to spin off, not to mention the economic multiplier that jacks up that number into something approaching the GDP of Brazil. I’ve previously noted the utter lack of research proving this or you could consider Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Jim Stingl’s wry take on the “explosion of jobs and investment” sure to come. “Well maybe, but the bar right across the street from the Bradley Center’s front door keeps going out of business.”

The two existing arenas.

The two existing arenas.

Invoking the Intangible Impact: This is where the argument gets into mystical territory, nearly leaving terra firma. Naturally some professor somewhere has done a research paper on this (but should Indiana State count?), helping us quantify the ineffable. To put in layman’s terms, as a Journal Sentinel editorial once put it, “while there may not be direct proof of economic benefit from a new arena, the indirect benefits for marketing Milwaukee across the country… cannot be ignored” — particularly if the publication makes most of its money covering sports. Still, now that basketball has risen into the world’s second-most popular sport, behind only to soccer, it does make the advantage of owning one of only 30 NBA teams seem a good deal more tangible.

Getting Regional Help: The long-running dog and pony show led by Sheehy, complete with a huge regional task force considering ways to support attractions like the Milwaukee Art Museum, Marcus Center and (the real point of it all) a new NBA arena, has also triggered a couple deathlessly sober studies from the Public Policy Forum pondering the financial issues involved. Meanwhile, every surrounding county board from here to (almost) Illinois has passed resolutions saying nyet, not one kopeck for those grasping urbanites in Milwaukee. This won’t be an easy sell, either.

Finding a Stealth Tax: If you can’t convince voters to tax themselves for millionaire owners and ballplayers, you have several possible ways to snooker them. Have state legislators who live outside the area pass a local tax, as was done for the five-county Miller Park plan (call this taxation with almost no representation); that won’t fly this time as Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington Counties oppose it and have too much clout in the legislature. Or grab a tax outsiders will pay, like a car rental or hotel tax (but it can’t raise enough revenue). Or find a tax no one understands, like the proposed “Super TIF,” which takes the complicated scheme of a property tax incremental financing plan and somehow layers on sales and income taxes. Since this will require legislative approval, it will probably be shrouded in technical jargon, ideally resembling a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, to match Churchill’s description of Soviet Russia.

Avoiding Partisan Debate: Uh oh, it turns out new owner Marc Lasry is a flaming Democrat who has done fundraisers for Barack Obama, even holding one in his Upper East Side Manhattan home. Gov. Scott Walker and Republican legislators don’t even tolerate moderate members of their own party and their lap dog Charlie Sykes has already written a story slapping at Lasry (which like everything published at Right Wisconsin cannot be read by mere mortals).  Given how hard it is to pass legislation the voters hate (see Miller Park), how hard will it be to help a friend of your enemy?

The Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks

Getting Media Support: The Journal Sentinel and conservative radio squawkers Sykes and Mark Belling pulled out all the stops to browbeat us into supporting the subsidy of Miller Park. (The Journal company even lobbied legislators to support the plan.) So far the Journal Sentinel has played along by burying the story about Golden State Warriors’ arena plan (though someone may need to stifle Stingl’s sly comments). JS sports writer Michael Hunt is once again writing articles offering his contempt for the “obstructionists” who would dare ask questions about any proposed deal. (Don’t they understand Hunt might lose his job if there’s no NBA team to cover?) But do the white suburban listeners of Sykes and Belling care as much about NBA basketball as Major League Baseball — much less when the team is co-owned by a dastardly Democrat?

Scaring Us With Seattle: Never fear, if nothing else works, the taxpayers can always be cowed with the threat of moving the team to Seattle. That wasn’t possible when Kohl served as senator, and even after his retirement he didn’t have the stomach for the job. But now the NBA has warned Milwaukee there must be a new arena built by 2017 or the league will buy back the team from the owners. And we all know where it will go, to the city that has become the league’s nightmare scenario for non-compliant taxpayers. As Bill Simmons put it, the loss of the old Supersonics team to Oklahoma City “created the league’s first extortion city — Seattle, the NBA’s version of L.A.’s Potemkin NFL franchise. These days, the mere threat of Sonics 2.0 can get a state-of-the-art arena built in other markets and bump up bidding wars by $100 million–$125 million. It’s hard to call multibillionaires ‘tragic’ figures, but frustrated [Seattle] kajillionaires Steve Ballmer and Chris Hansen are the greatest owners the NBA never had. They made a shockingly lavish offer for the [Sacremento] Kings (nearly $800 million if you added everything up) and the biggest offer for the Bucks (more than $600 million, from what I heard).”

The 30 NBA teams make up the “world’s most exclusive club,” as Simmons puts it, and if you want to belong it will simply take $200 to $300 million from taxpayers. As the Godfather might mumble it, it’s an offer you can’t refuse.

27 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law: 10 Key Issues in NBA Arena Debate”

  1. Matt says:

    You do yourself no justice by citing the nonsense that Stingl drooled on the keyboard that day he needed to write a quick column and couldn’t find some old white person to write about. It is clever to cite one bar that is closed, but lets take a stroll down memory lane and talk about Old World Third Street before the Bradley Center was built. I suppose all the old people remember the joy that was the diner (Landmark?) which was not so much a greasy spoon as a greasy napkin kind of place, That is now occupied by Buck Bradleys, where the spoons are clean and the seats are often full (even at lunch). Even on nights when the Bradley Center has no event.

    Or perhaps take a stroll down Old World Third and see all the bars and restaurants that are there, and have been there for quite some time. One would not credit the success of Mader’s to the Bradley Center (although why the hell no one seems interested in publishing the thoughts of any of these employers, rather than the ramblings of a lazy columnist, seems like a pertinent journalism question) but that street was a ghost town twenty five years ago. Now it is a nice entertainment option, and lest the good folks of Milwaukee forget, it is the beer, bars, food and good people that bring in the tourists.

    It is self evident that a lot of people don’t care about the Bradley Center; however perhaps they might ask why I am supposed to be caring about the fine public schools in Ozaukee or Washington County. Or their roads for that matter. These tiresome ideas people who do not want a couple of heretofore unknown billionaires spending time and money in the community are not worthy of having their “thoughts” compiled in a list.

    The Godfather comparison is not on point. We absolutely can refuse the offer. We know what the consequences will be (Hello, D-League!). If we choose to refuse the offer the fault will not be on a godfather. It will be on us. And, oh yeah, the kids. Because we must always mention the kids.

  2. PMD says:

    Those bars and restaurants that are doing well downtown, how much does that have to do with the Bucks? Would those places all wither and close if Milwaukee lost the Bucks? Bucks attendance is way down right, because the team sucks, yet apparently the bars and restaurants downtown are still busy. So would they be dead if the Bucks left?

  3. Urban Dweller says:

    The “long-running dog and pony show led by Sheehy” was supposed to be about saving the Bucks AND supporting Milwaukee’s other cultural assets – but as soon as new prospective owners and their promises were announced, various City officials came out of the gates suggesting which cultural assets should be destroyed to help the NBA keep its proboscis inserted in Milwaukee’s bloodstream.

    Maybe that’s a sign our metro really is too small & poor to support a franchise.

  4. Watch state legislators, Speaker Robin Vos and Minority Leader Peter Barca, discuss public funding to support building of new arena in Milwaukee on WisconsinEye’s program, Civil Dialogue with Steve Walters:

  5. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Belling pretty much destroyed their arguments for the taxpayers buying a new arena with his expose of the growing value of sports franchises for ads. People are not watching regular tv live, but wait till later than forward through ads. Not true with sports. Assembly speaker and all leader have said no to this deal.
    Some of you might remember that the GOP voted for the Milwaukee and Green Bay deals only to have the Left turn around and recall Petak and screw Drezwicki. They are not stupid.
    Milwaukee has horrible big problems brought on by bad leaders. Funding a choochoo train and another toy will not solve them. Detroit has all of those things yet is still disaster. Stop crime, fix schools, get jobs, then talk about basketball.

  6. burtquinn says:

    I could be wrong but I don’t believe that the Washington County Board has taken a vote yet on support or lack thereof of a regional tax supporting the proposed arena. I think it was Racine County that voted against the idea. As far as economic impact, there is an undeniable positive impact because a NBA arena does bring new money from outside the Milwaukee area into Milwaukee, the very definition of true net impact, witness recent events like the NCAA tourney. Its more a question of how large the impact is. Likewise multiplier theory is a well-established regional economic theory. A good impact study should only measure net new money into the area and use a reasonable multiplier. Unfortunately many impact studies have notoriously overstated both. But the theory is well grounded.

  7. Edward David says:

    Amazing the no one has bothered to calculate the lost income tax revenue to be collected by the State of Wisconsin. 41 home games played at an arena; 11-12 non-resident basketball players on the opposing team paying income taxes to Wisconsin equal to say 1/82 of their compensation for each game played in Wisconsin. 11-12 Bucks paying income taxes to Wisconsin for each of those games. See Wis. Adm. Code Section Tax 2.31  Compensation received by nonresident members of professional athletic teams.
    Add in sales tax revenue on tickets, food and beverages at the arena and from the surrounding bars, restaurants, hotels…
    Add in concert revenue that we could have if the facility was a first class facility. Add in more revenue from Marquette, corporate rentals etc. And of course we the taxpayers are ready to kiss all that tax revenue goodbye because some gazillionaires purchased the team. HOW SHORT SIGHTED ARE WE???

  8. burtquinn says:

    Edward, I have seen some estimates that suggest that the so called jock tax generates roughly $6 million annually in state income tax. I closer look at all tax revenues generated by arena activity that would disappear if an NBA team left would be a good start on what sort of public support would be reasonable. These revenues should be redirected to public arena support. Perhaps the Legislative Reference Bureau could do it.

  9. Observer says:

    Legalize pot in Milwaukee and tax the hell out it. Proceeds can be divided up amongst cultural and recreational needs. Hell, We might even get Larry Sanders to indirectly pay his own salary. I watched Monta Ellis not play defense on “free” TV last night. It was better than watching him live in Milwaukee. Herb Kohl, unless he plans on taking it with him, could pay the remainder and still be wealthier than he was last week. Sheehy and Marotta have no problem telling me how to spend my money, I’m just doing the same with the good Senator (who I admire). Just don’t ask me to help expand the wallets of the wealthy. Not even pennies. I am curious if any other politico, save Abele, is willing to come out for taxpayer funding of a private arena? I’m still pissed at Franklyn Gimbel for spending my money on the Auditorium fiasco.

  10. Observer says:

    Oops, I may want to rescind some of my ramblings. The good Senator apparently borrowed money to keep the Bucks a float. industry_11 &page=all

  11. devil's advocate says:

    @edward: i’ll bother to do that. if the bucks go away, we lose all the tax revenue. let’s look at worst case. assume 41 home games. assume 24 players out of state. assume $5,500,000 annual salary per player. that makes the average game salary per player ~$67,000. That makes the average game taxable income ~$1,610,000. that makes the annual income ~$66,000,000. assume no injuries or suspensions to mitigate earning allocations. assume 7.65% tax rate. tax revenue = ~$5,000,000. additional collection would be ~$15,000 per unique tax payer. 30 teams. assume all play here. 30*12 = 360 *$15,000 = $5,400,000. total taxes collected = $10,400,000. (i’ve probably read the code wrong, it’s likely less than that, but this seemed to me to be the very high end.)

    not a small number. if we came up with a value for that perpetual stream of cash flows it might be $100,000,000 – $150,000,000. so let’s say the state agreed to pay some portion of that. it can’t likely justify paying all of it. so let’s say they pay half. That’s $50mm – $75mm. If the arena costs $600mm, and Mr. Kohl and the new owners kick in $200mm total, there’s still a $325mm – $350mm gap.

    which taxpayers should come up with that gap? just here in milwaukee?

    and if the Bradley Center stays, do we really necessarily lose all those other events? will marquette stop playing there? no more admirals? no more concerts?

    sales tax is another bird entirely. i don’t know what the sales taxes generated are per home game. but the sales taxes don’t stay in milwaukee. 5% goes to the state. .5% goes to the county. .1% goes to Miller Park. milwaukee gets some of that back in shared revenue from the state. but less than 5%. so it sounds like the state and county have the most to lose in that revenue. so it sounds like the state and the county should chip in more.

    imho, if there’s going to be a new tax of some kind, the surrounding municipal governments (read: counties) need to chip in. i live here. i’ll pay more somewhere to keep them. but we city residents shouldn’t be footing the entire bill for a cultural resource that the region (and the state) also benefits from. we already pay for all the roads, and the police and fire service, and the health department, and garbage collection, and…

    @wisconsin conservative: crime is at the top of your list? really? start with schools please and you’ll build your credibility. and ‘choo choo’ is just childish and unnecessarily provocative.

    @matt: i agree with much of what you say. but your chronological argument is specious. 25 years ago there was no downtown housing, the 3rd ward was a ghost town of derelict buildings, we had an abandoned freeway corridor on ogden, and… i don’t know you can credit the bucks with the profound transformation of all those areas – and I think you can credit those transformations with some of the positive change on old world third street. and, you yourself say those places do well even when there isn’t an event at the bradley center.

  12. Mike Bark says:


    By your logic then the State should give my business some money so we can build an office. All of our staff pays income tax, I pay income tax and we have all sorts of other taxes imposed on us.

    Now, I will grant that we don’t have the incomes of the NBA players, so I’ll just settle for a pro-rated share of what we’re going to throw at the Bucks.

  13. cooperstan says:

    Your questions beget more questions: How many of these unelected decision makers currently live or are going to live in the ‘Taxing Authority District”.

    Aside from whatever benefits Miller Park and the Brewers offer – excellent role models in truthfulness, examples of how to divert tax money into the pockets of the MLB Commissioner (was that 38 million Bruce?), a healthy percentage of drunks taking to the roads when the games let out, endangering the tax payers who funded it – it’s clear the process reflected a serious breach of representative government principles. Who, exactly, do we complain to when the stadium tax goes on and on and on… George Petak? Is a professional sports team really worth compromising representative government? Really?

    In that light, how much will a new Area really cost? I mean really cost? And how much are the ‘financiers’ willing to put up to have a competitive team.

    I think most people – left, right or whatever – would agree that 10 years from now, Fresh water and the attendant technology and research will be much more important to Milwaukee than arrested adolescents who make a living bouncing a rubber ball. In fact,Fresh Water will be much more important to booming cities like Austin and Phoenix and Provo Utah that are already in a drought. That’s Milwaukee’s future. The promise is so great it could even withstand the incredible stupidity of the Trolley obsessed Mayor.

    Miller Park is getting kind of long in the tooth. What if M.A. decides he wants a new stadium too? Or else, you know, other cities would of course wants baseball team. Because what else matters in life, right?

    BTW, lot of people in the Twin Cities – I’d venture the majority – are not happy about the Vikings new elaborate playpen there.

  14. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Observer, what ever you do do not insult that beautiful Auditorium that is used practically every day and we make fortune. Bruce was main backer of that thing.

  15. Bruce Murphy says:

    To Wisconsin Conservative Digest: Bob just an FYI, you will find no story I’ve ever written promoting the idea of the renovating the Milwaukee Auditorium into the Milwaukee Theatre. Would it be too much to ask that you refrain from making this stuff up about me?

  16. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Bruce, I distintinctly remember tearing apart the whole Milwaukee theater problem and you came to it and Gimbles’ defense. I know that at you rage it is hard to remember those things, but you must have reocords.

  17. Bruce Murphy says:

    To WCD: So Bob, you’re saying I must have records to prove your erroneous point? Just a thought here, you might check the records before you make these sorts of assertions. If you had, you’d find i did a NEWS story for the Journal Sentinel that revealed Gimbel stole the idea for the Milwaukee Theatre from the Bradley Center, which had plans to build a mid-sized theater of the same size. The story also revealed that the revenue generated from the theater would not fully support it and quoted people pro and con as to its benefits (or not) to the community. You clearly think it’s a bad idea, and you’re entitled to your opinion, but if Gimbel hadn’t done this, we’d now have the additional 5,000 seat theater built by the Bradley Center as well as the old Auditorium, meaning even more facilities downtown. How that would have worked I can’t say but it’s always good to know the history before forming an opinion.

  18. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Bruce, what you say here is absolutely correct, but I remember it different. I think maybe it was the price or something else then. I know that you do not want to be a whore for Gimble or Journal.

  19. MKEFan says:

    Marquette Law hosted a conference in April 2013 on a new sports / entertainment arena ( The final panel (5 state & local elected officials) was unanimous that not one dime of public money would be available (go to 4:22). I hope that that mega TIFs don’t become the end around what the citizens are willing to pay for.

  20. Matt says:

    Thanks for doing the work Devil. It is a fair representation of what it calculates. Other calculations that might be of note:

    1. Income taxes of all the other people working at the games, from ushers to assistant trainers or whatever.
    2. Sales taxes on items sold in the arena. Oh yeah, sales taxes in all the restaurants and bars around the arena. And income tax too.
    3. Tax for rent on the Bradley Center
    4. Charitable investments of owners (check out Attanasio, who couldn’t spell Milwaukee until he bought the team).
    5. Hotel taxes for teams, and fans who follow (OK, not the Bucks. But when Springsteen comes to town, or the NCAA tourney, or remember when college hockey used to come to town).

    Now for some reason this comment section has devolved into some obsession about government spending (it always does nowadays). But there is non-monetary value to have a lively downtown (come down for a game some time scared white people, no one is going to beat you up, unless you wear a Bears jersey or are named Robin). Its why we non-bikers don’t whine and cry about the tax money being spent on the Harley parties.

    Many of us remember the sturm and drang over Miller Park. It turns out to have been a fine investment for the state and Miller Park is what we call a cultural institution. Those who opposed Miller Park should now stand up and prove that didn’t work out. They can’t so they won’t. They can therefore be disregarded.

    Ideology is fine, and also cute. Now it is grownup time. It is absolutely proper to investigate and negotiate, but the actual choice is clear. Build something or they will leave, and everything associated will shrivel and/or die. Of course there still will be a Bradley Center for awhile, and maybe Shania Twain and Justin Bieber might come by. Plus circuses! But if you want to be a big league town you have to have big time leaders. That is the biggest part of the problem.

    By the way, just so we are on the same page. Are there any polls of any town that shows the citizens of said town are opposed to their new stadium after it has already been built, not counting Wrigley in 1915? On a related note, anyone still whining about the Calatrava?

  21. Wis Conservative Digest says:

    Matt, you have points well taken. I have read numerous econo plans and propositions for these things over the years and they are fairy tales. Some really good people did good analysis and pretty much blew them away. it is pretty easy to put numbers on these things. They do not play that many games. If the state would put in 250 million, will never happen, but if they did, will they get back the 5% or so bonding costs plus a return on the $250 million to pay off the bonds? Never happen. The Brewers draw 3 million and it will be a stretch to see if Bucks draw 600,000. the other events can just as well be held at Bradley Center which is 60 years younger than my house. Marquette will do quite well there. Bucks do not have deep fan base like baseball, will never have. This has never been big basketball town. As for the nebulous part of big league city, the Brewers give us that. Omaha and other cities do quite well without any of these toys.
    Listening to Belling and also reading breakdowns of future TV rights in sports shows an incredible growth curve. Let them build their own arena.
    Why should we pay for the thing, never go down there? Or the little old lady across the street with alzheimers?
    If they leave there will be few people that cry like when we lost the Braves. Keep updating the Bradley as we have Miller park and we will be just fine. Our family backed miller park. Take the energy of the community and put it into things that count. If you family does not have enough food, kids cannot read, crime outside your front door, old man unemployed, why would we invest money into these toys?
    what really grinds peopel is the gall of the downtown intersted who put togerh this Blue Ribbon committee with very few peoel from suburbs, average peole and then virtuallyd emand our omn eoy, tell us where to put the area, how to design it etc..
    I can tell you tha tther are zero outstate votes for state money to go into this proejct. The GOP was burned bad last time and there are not many votes there. Unless ther is a plan toahve th stakeholders and the owenrs pay for this thing it is unlikely it will fly.

  22. fieldd03 says:

    They say Milwaukee gets about 5 million to 6 million per year from tax revenue alone? Well considering the revenue not included the state will receive from other taxes when people visit including media, for concerts held in the new arena . It shouldn’t take long for that 180 million to be paid off.

  23. Tom D says:

    I can personally attest to how much hotel business the NCAA generates.

    I live in NY but planned to spend the week of March 16 in Madison. I was then invited to an event the evening of Thursday, March 20, to be held in the PAC in Milwaukee. I agreed to go thinking I’d just grab a hotel room across the street at the Intercontinental (nee Wyndham). I didn’t know the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was being played in the Bradley Center that day.

    When (a few hours after the NCAA brackets were announced) I tried to get a room at the Intercontinental, I found there were no rooms. Ditto for the Pfister, the Hyatt, and the Hotel Metro. I quickly found there were no available rooms ANYWHERE downtown or even anywhere near the airport.

    I found a room at the Milwaukee River Hilton (at Hampton & Port Washington) and felt very fortunate to have found anything at all. I think that may have been the only hotel in the county that showed any availability and I think I might have checked its website just after somebody else cancelled; when I got to the hotel that afternoon, they were turning others away.

  24. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Great, then let all of those that are going to profit from the events pony up for the bonds and pay them off. oh, and all those that re pushing the arena also pony up.

  25. broke says:

    I say let them go. Who the heck are the bucks anyway! Save your money Wisconsin. The Brewers were doing just fine in there old house. Don’t fall for the scam twice!

  26. Sean says:

    “Omaha and other cities do quite well without any of these toys.” Good Lord – I’ve been to Omaha, Topeka, Wichita, and many other 2nd tier cities and they DON’T do well without these toys. The Milwaukee region, if we don’t figure out how to get this built, will lose the Bucks. If that happens, we WILL lose the Brewers, in the not so distant future. This state’s aversion to thinking bigger is going to be their downfall. This idea that we’re not a basketball town is ludicrous – to say we’re more of a baseball town than basketball is equally as ludicrous. Do people not remember the days of the Bucks packing the house in the 70’s and 80’s (and a blip on the radar in 2001)? And vice versa, do people not remember the 70’s, late 80’s, and most of the 90’s and early 2000’s when County Stadium was a freakin’ ghost town? Milwaukee is a sports town, plain and simple, and like it or not top tier cities are defined by the number of those teams, and if you’ve recently lost or obtained any. To think otherwise, regardless of ROI, etc, is shortsighted. We should, for the long term vibrancy of our REGION, support new arena financing – and yes, even if that includes public money. To do otherwise will lessen our city and region in so many ways…..

  27. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    I know many people in those cities and they are quite happy, but they do have things that we do not have: Not in top ten most violent, top ten worst run, top ten worst poverty, hundreds of abandoned houses, worst schools, heroin epidemic, 57% unemployment for our youth, a corrupt Milwaukee county, ignoramuses in charge there. Corruption every where.
    Which of these will be solved by the new arena. There are no votes.
    Detroit has new stadiums for all of their sports?? How does that work?

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