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Bucks owner on board with plans for new downtown arena

Jun 4, 2013, 11:58 AM EDT

Herb Kohl AP

After the bid of a Seattle group to buy and move the Sacramento Kings fell short of its goal, some turned their attention to who might be next to move.

The Milwaukee Bucks name came up. They have a lease that is up in 2017 and are in need of a new arena, and the league has put pressure on the city and organization to get a new deal done.

On Monday Bucks owner, retired senator Herb Kohl, put his personal weight a plan for a new arena in downtown Milwaukee. There are a lot of details to work out — starting with how to pay for it — but if a senator really wants to get things done they tend to happen. Here are the details, from The Business Journal, which serves the Milwaukee area.

In his first remarks in more than a year on a possible new arena for downtown Milwaukee, Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl said winning public support and unspecified funding for such a facility will be a challenge but that he will make sure it gets done….

“We’ll see to it that the Bucks stay here,” Kohl said. “We need each other — the facility needs the Bucks and the Bucks need a facility. And we are determined to get there.”

That’s a good first step. Like any good politician knows, his first step will need to be to get public support behind the idea of replacing the 25-year-old BMO Harris Bradley Center. He also knows a winning Bucks team would help that cause.

Then there’s the little detail of the money. Okay, not so little. This likely would have to be some kind of public/private partnership.

The Bucks have about four years to get everything in place, which is time enough. If not, you can bet if it is not Seattle it will be other cities and other billionaires coming up to Kohl, looking to buy one of the league’s historic franchises and moving them somewhere else.

  1. MyTeamsAllStink - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    I’m now positive the NBA will do everything in their power to keep Seattle from ever having a franchise again.And you know what?Seattle is better for it.The NBA makes no bones about sticking it to the fans and citizens of the cities they are in with prices and taxes to fund arenas that these billionaires could easily finance.

  2. padraighansen - Jun 4, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    I’d love to see a study concerning how much money municipalities and states make off of publicly funded arenas, and teams – everything from revenue realized from income tax to revenue generated from parking, food & beverage sales, sales tax, etc. – and balanced out by ongoing costs to the municipality / state for the structure.

    My guess is that the facts will be varied – the more events that fill the structure, such as basketball (NCAA, NBA, WNBA), Hockey, concerts, and more – the greater the ROI.

    Some believe that it’s only a public expense and not an investment that generates additional revenue for states & municipalities; others may have inflated estimates of revenue.

    For Kohl’s sake, he’s willing to put up a portion of the money (I believe he said 50%) of his own – which is more than some (not all) others have done.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      Yah, usually not worth it and the folks who say it does inflate their numbers. Here’s a link for some interesting reading.

      http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/public-financing-of-private-sports-stadiums/

    • asimonetti88 - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      Most of the studies I’ve heard of say there is little to no economic impact. Here is the one I see most frequently cited (although it is a bit old now at 5 years):

      http://www.american.com/archive/2008/april-04-08/a-closer-look-at-stadium-subsidies

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