Jeramey Jannene
Transportation

Bucks, City Unveil “Fear the Deer” Streetcar

Learn how to find the vehicle, and see what's inside.

By - Apr 12th, 2019 02:00 pm
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The Milwaukee Bucks branded Fear the Deer streetcar. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Milwaukee Bucks branded Fear the Deer streetcar. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

If the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t catch your attention by turning the Milwaukee river turning green or lighting up the 28-story BMO Harris Bank office tower with the words “Fear the Deer,” the team’s rolling billboard should do the trick.

The team, in partnership with the City of Milwaukee, has temporarily reclad one of the city’s streetcar vehicles with Bucks branding inside and out. The vehicle, which features green “Fear the Deer” and “Go Bucks Go” signage on the outside, contains a mock basketball court on the inside as well as player photos and labeled shoe prints illustrating the massive feet NBA players have.

Mayor Tom Barrett and Bucks vice president Alex Lasry got an up-close look at the vehicle as it rolled into the 2.1-mile system’s Historic Third Ward stop in front of Cafe Benelux on its inaugural late Friday morning run. The Bucks’ mascot Bango jumped off the vehicle with members of the organization’s dance team to high-five those on the platform.

“We just trying to bring everyone together and Bucks-ify Milwaukee,” said Lasry of the team’s large marketing push before the playoffs begin this weekend. The Bucks shouldn’t have any problem selling tickets, they finished the season with the league’s best record.

The branding on the outside is understated compared to the takeover on the inside. The exterior branding only covers the lower half of the vehicle, leaving the windows clear, a plus for riders, and the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino branding clearly displayed atop the vehicle. Potawatomi is the streetcar system’s presenting sponsor, with a $10 million, 12-year agreement first announced in October 2017.

The Bucks branding is much more subdued on the exterior than the nearly complete wrap used by the Oklahoma City Thunder or the many window decals employed in the Kansas City Chiefs branding vehicle.

On the inside, it’s Bucks everywhere (much like the city is becoming). The floor has been covered with a mock basketball court. Near the seats are shoe prints and names of the corresponding players they belong to. Eric Bledsoe, who stands 6′ 1″, has his shoe print on display, as does 7-foot-tall Brook Lopez. And while a handful of streetcar riders may wear a size 12.5 shoe to match Bledesoe’s, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who can fill the foot print for Lopez’s size 20 shoes.

Looking down isn’t the only way you’ll see Bucks branding on the inside. A number of vertical player images have been installed. In addition, branding is included for the contest the Bucks are running. Share your photos riding the special vehicle with the #HoopsOnTheHop hashtag for a chance to win $100 (see official rules).

And in case you don’t find yourself near the streetcar route, just look for any of the 400 Milwaukee County Transit System buses. The digital screens will display “Fear the Deer” and “Go Bucks” messages in addition to route information for the duration of the team’s playoff run.

Finding the Streetcar

If you want to hop aboard the special Hop vehicle, the easiest way to find it is to use the mobile application. The Bucks vehicle is numbered “Bus 5” in the system. Clicking on any of the vehicles on the route map in the smartphone app will display the vehicle number as well as its estimated arrival time at upcoming stations.

The app and website will also provide estimated arrival times based on real-time vehicle location for any station in the system.

Like the Bucks playoff run, no official end date has been scheduled for the special streetcar. The Bucks could be playing in the NBA championship in early June, and the streetcar could still be rolling with Bucks branding.

Sponsorship Details

The team paid for the costs to print and install the graphics. A streetcar representative declined to provide the terms of the partnership between the city and team. Wrapping a bus, which the Milwaukee County Transit System does frequently with sponsors, can cost between $8,000 and $12,500 according to Bus Bank.

The city intends to leverage sponsorships, including advertising on the vehicles and branding at stations, to cover a substantial portion of the approximately $4.4 million annual cost to operate the streetcar system. “I think they’re showing the enthusiasm people have about The Hop,” said Barrett in an interview about sponsorship agreement with the Bucks. A city representative said the partnership demonstrates the value businesses see in the system.

Revenue for the system in 2019 is slated to include approximately $700,000 from Potawatomi, a $3.45 million federal grant and $250,000 in other sponsorship money, according to the city budget.

One thing that will make selling sponsorships easier is high ridership. The system exceeded ridership projections for its first three months of operations, but the city announced on March 15th that ridership data for February and March was unrecoverable following “numerous malfunctions” of the automated passenger counting system installed in each vehicle’s doors.

A streetcar representative said Friday that the system is “fully functional again” and that data is available going back to late March.

Photos

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More about the Milwaukee Streetcar

For more project details, including the project timeline, financing, route and possible extensions, see our extensive past coverage.

Categories: Transportation

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