Bucks Won’t Play in Fiserv Arena
Naming rights don't interest financial tech company, but it may build new headquarters here.
Despite internet message board buzz, the Milwaukee Bucks won’t be playing in Fiserv Arena. The Brookfield-based financial services technology company confirmed Friday morning that the firm isn’t in the running for the naming rights to the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center.
Speculation that Fiserv was the finalist for the “imminent” deal had grown when it was discovered that FiservArena.com and FiservCenter.com were both registered in January. Interest was further heightened when commenters started to connect the dots between the Bucks desire for an office tenant in their Deer District development and Fiserv’s search for a new site for their headquarters that has been delayed for months.
Bucks co-owner Wes Edens told the media earlier this week that the team is exchanging contracts with the naming rights partner. “It’s a company that’s local. It’s got a national presence.” Early estimates pegged the annual price as high as $10 million, and Edens said the team is happy with the rate they’re getting.
Fiserv is evaluating sites in The Corridor in Brookfield, the UW-Milwaukee Innovation Campus in Wauwatosa and the Reed Street Yards in Milwaukee for its corporate headquarters, as well as sites outside of Wisconsin. It previously ruled out a possible site in Schlitz Park. Potential sites outside of Milwaukee include Alpharetta, Georgia where the company has approximately 1,600 employees.
CEO Jeffery Yabuki said the search is focused “primarily within the Milwaukee area” at the company’s May 2017 shareholder meeting. An indicator that Fiserv might stay here emerged two months before that: in March Todd Horvath, president of the company’s bank solutions division, purchased a $1.4 million home on N. Lake Dr. in Milwaukee.
A company representative declined to provide an update on the search.
The state has become involved in attempting to keep Fiserv in Wisconsin. Included in the state’s Foxconn financing package is $10 million in tax credits for Fiserv if it maintains 93 percent of their employees and corporate headquarters in the state. An additional $2.5 million could come from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation for capital costs and the selected municipality for the corporate headquarters is likely to contribute additional funds via tax-incremental financing.
Who Else is in the Running?
Plenty of other area firms remain potential naming rights partners for the Bucks, but a number have been crossed off the list.
The team has established “founding partnerships” with Johnson Controls, MillerCoors, Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin and BMO Harris Bank, likely eliminating those firms from contention. Bucks president Peter Feigin confirmed it’s not Harley-Davidson, which has their logo on the team’s jerseys. Foxconn is reportedly out of the running. Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, Kohl’s and Northwestern Mutual are out, as is Madison-based American Family Insurance.
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