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Adam Silver says Milwaukee’s Bradley Center “unfit for the NBA”

Sep 19, 2013, 11:06 AM EDT

bradley center

Bucks owner Herb Kohl has been working with city officials in Milwaukee for years now on a plan to get a new arena done in the city. In lean economic times, that is a big mountain to climb.

However the reason is simple — it’s one of the worst buildings in the league. And cities with worse ones — for example, the Sleep Train in Sacramento — are already moving well along on plans to replace their structures.

Don’t take my word for it being an issue, commissioner-in-waiting Adam Silver (the guy who takes over for David Stern come Feb. 1) said so at an event in Milwaukee on Wednesday, reports the Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee.

“One obvious issue we all have to deal with is we need a new arena in Milwaukee,” said Adam Silver, deputy National commissioner, speaking of the BMO Harris Bradley Center….

“At the end of the day compared to other modern arenas in the league, this arena is a few hundred thousand square feet too small,” Silver said. “It doesn’t have the sort of back-of-house space you need, doesn’t have the kinds of amenities we need.

“It doesn’t have the right sort of upper bowl/lower bowl (seating) configuration for the teams frankly that Milwaukee wants to compete against,” he said.

The Bucks signed a lease extension in 2011 that runs through 2017, but by the end of that a plan to get a new arena built is supposed to be in place (or maybe even work could have started).

Kohl has worked hard on efforts to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee, there is a long tradition and a great fan base there. Of course, if this comes to a showdown over the arena in four years there will be cities sitting on the sidelines willing to jump in with their plans or buildings. For now nothing is changing, but the battle lines are being drawn now as the league pushes Milwaukee and its ownership to get something done.

  1. asimonetti88 - Sep 19, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    The lease isn’t up until 2017, but it will likely take them about 3 or 4 years to rob the Milwaukee taxpayers blind to subsidize their new arena.

    • adamsjohn714 - Sep 19, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      yeah, but think of all the economic benefit that a nba team has proven not to provide to an area. That’s a major selling point.

  2. ProBasketballPundit - Sep 19, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    I’m surprised Milwaukee has a professional sports team at all. When you’re driving into the city on I-94 you noticed a brown pollution haze over the city from all the industrial plants. Half the city are alcoholics who see themselves as just a bunch of good time boys and outlaws. Seriously… my uncle cracks a beer with his morning cereal and grabs another for the morning drive into work. (He works at Harley, probably not surprising.) Maybe I’m tainted from my experience but it just seems like a sloppy beer town, so I’m not surprised that they fall behind in technology or public works type things.

    • pack93z - Sep 19, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      Yet Miller Park is one of the best venues in MLB, yet it is the cities or its residents fault because they are blue collar?

      If anything, the economic impact in Milwaukee has been steeper than most other cities across the nation along with a declining manufacturing sector and quite honestly a deterioration of the north side neighborhoods.

      The stereotype of the Wisconsinite you have certainly fits a sector of the populous, but far from the majority.

    • jjthesportsguy - Sep 19, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      I can’t even begin to explain how many things are inaccurate with this statement. A brown pollution haze? Maybe that’s smoke from your crack pipe… I don’t know if you follow news in the business world, but many of the “industrial plants” you speak of that would be creating that pollution haze are vacant. While Milwaukee was once a bustling manufacturing city, much of the manufacturing plants near the lakefront and in the actual city of Milwuakee have been or are in the process of being turned into condos. On a second note, Milwaukee is extremely segregated. The black population North of interstate 94, West of 43, and East of 45 are absolutely some of the most thuggish populus in our country. This population continues to see money pumped into their “neighborhood” with little to show for it. The HS dropout rate in this area exceeds 50% and the average household income is only about 80% of the poverty level. The Downtown, South side, and West suburbs are good areas. If your Uncle cracks a beer with breakfast, that’s the kind of lifestyle you’ll live when you make a career out of working at a Harley factory. If you claim that he cracks another on the way to work, I’m sure the factory he works for at Harley would be thrilled that he is drinking before work. This is not at all commonplace. Your Uncle is likely a union worker over at Harley. I hear union employees are really good workers who show a lot of integrity in the workplace and never just show up to earn a paycheck. Your opinion sounds like that of a person who has spent about 5 minutes here…and thus should be kept to yourself. If you had some experience living here, that would be one thing, but you don’t see me or others shooting off comments about a city that we’ve barely seen. While I agree in being surprised that the Bucks are still in Milwaukee, the Brewers will never leave and are beloved by the entire state. The city of Milwaukee is more than capable of supporting multiple professional sports teams, unfortunately one of those teams(Bucks) has no interest in providing a product that people around here are regularly willing to fork money over to see. I have a ticket package with the Bucks, and I go to maybe 2-3 of the games a year. The rest of my tickets are purely a money maker for me because I can sell premier game tickets for $1,250 to $1,750 a seat when the good teams come to MKE.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Sep 19, 2013 at 2:06 PM

        I acknowledged that my notion of Milwaukee might be biased. I have lived in Green Bay and Chicago, but my whole paternal side of the family is from Milwaukee. They’re all alcoholics so that’s sort of what I expect from the town… but probably its just them. The brown haze I did not make up, although maybe it’s better if they shut down some of the factories.

    • jimsjam33 - Sep 20, 2013 at 2:28 AM

      Pro Basketball Pundit ,

      In Los Angeles we have two basketball teams and two baseball teams . The teams are supported very well and we are thankful for franchise’s here . The Los Angeles area has a population of around ( I’m guessing ) 12 million that includes Orange , San Bernardino , Ventura , and Riverside Counties .
      I’ve been to Milwaukee and I know it rolls up their sidewalks at 9 PM and all it’s citizens are in bed by 10 PM . Why do I mention this ? Because , although you are “surprised that Milwaukee has a sports team at all . ” you forgot to mention they have not only basketball and baseball , but they have the Green Bay Packers too .
      In LA the Rams and Raiders both left in 1995 ( 18 years ) . If all it takes is drinking beer and breaking the law to get a team I’m In .

  3. bobulated - Sep 19, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    And the overt Bucks to Seattle threats begin. Brilliant move by the NBA to screw one fan base so as to be able to hold their city as threat to other cities.

    • spursareold - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      There’s always a city waiting to take away your team. It’s just reality. You could look at this as a public service so that no one cannot say they weren’t warned.

  4. paleihe - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    I don’t eat pizza because it comes in a shiny box. I eat it cause it’s delicious.

    Get better management running your team, worry about the arena later.

  5. whitdog23 - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    don’t see mr. kohl moving team out of wisconsin. seattle threat is overblown. owner makes call….not nba

    • spursareold - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      He wouldn’t move it, but he’d sell to someone who would. See: Schultz, Howard.

  6. jjthesportsguy - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    I live about 5 blocks East of the Bradley Center. The first thing I have to say is that they are going to get a new stadium, discussions just aren’t as far along as the Bucks or the NBA would like. To be honest, it’s hard to get taxpayers to shell out money for a team that is this bad. Providing a winner on the court, and solid free agent moves off of it would go a long way toward making an arena tax burden easier to consider for the city and its residents.

    Until the Bucks hold up their end of the deal, and show they can be a competitive team, I’m not sure I care to see them in Milwaukee any longer. Tearing this organization down to the bare bones, and even a change in ownership, is likely the best formula to produce a winner. If you want them Seattle, take them. With how few fans show up to these games(I hold a ticket package with the Bucks), the only real money that is being made is when the Bulls, Heat, Thunder, and Lakers come to town…my tickets more than quadruple in value for those games.

    • zeedoubleyou - Sep 19, 2013 at 3:17 PM

      Please don’t tell me you rent from that slumlord Katz (like I used to) that owns JVT

      • jjthesportsguy - Sep 20, 2013 at 10:52 AM

        I did rent from Katz in JVT for about 6 months before purchasing a condo 2 blocks closer to the lake. I never had any problems with JVT. Paid my rent/parking and electric on time, and didn’t have a dollar deducted from my security deposit upon move-out. While I certainly can see that people expect more for the money in that area, it’s downtown. You’re 2 blocks from all the bars and restaurants to the West(Water St) and 3 blocks from the lake(with a lake view in JVT East facing units) to the East. You should expect to pay a premium to live there. If you want a townhouse that is newer and larger with all the accomodations for less money, move about a half hour West to Waukesha…but expect to spend money each weekend on a cab downtown to see anything resembling night life.

  7. MyTeamsAllStink - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    the Las Vegas Bucks……

  8. raysfan1 - Sep 19, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    To all major sports leagues and team owners:
    If the venue in which your teams perform is below your standards, use your money to buy land and build your own venue. You manage it. You keep all the proceeds. John Q Public should only subsidize you by buying tickets.

    • jjthesportsguy - Sep 20, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      The problem with this is that Herb Kohl broke the bank to buy the Bucks and makes a living off of them. He can not afford to purchase the required land in the area much less build a few hundred million dollar arena.

      • raysfan1 - Sep 20, 2013 at 11:40 AM

        Then he can work on finding other private investors, or he can sell to someone who can afford a new venue if it is truly needed. However, spending public money (ie tax dollars) to help the incredibly wealthy get wealthier needs to stop. The community return on these expenditures is marginal at best. Spend the taxes on schools, roads, police and fire protection…not on entertainment outlets.

      • jjthesportsguy - Sep 20, 2013 at 1:11 PM

        That would be great, but the Bradley Center actually employs a lot of people in an area of downtown Milwaukee that needs a place that employs many people. Without that employment opportunity I’m sure things would get worse there, which is not something I want to imagine. So while an outdated arena may not be what the NBA wants, it is helping Milwaukee out a great deal. The community return cannot be measured in dollars being returned to the city in taxes and other sorts of things, but rather needs to also consider the jobs provided, travel money spent by fans attending the games from out of the city, local bar fare and drinks consumed in nearby establishments during the games, as well as other opportunities that these games bring to the area.

        Don’t get me wrong, I have hated the Bucks ownership and management for several years, but it does do a great deal for that area of Milwaukee.

  9. esotericmindguy - Sep 19, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Pundit, you’re a bigger idiot than your uncle. Milwaukee is a great city, but not an NBA town. Marquette basketball draws more fans. Let them move.

  10. metalhead65 - Sep 19, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    just once I wish people would stand up the billionaire owners and tell them if they want a new arena so bad then build one. with the state the economy is in why should taxpayers subsidize rich owners? cities can’t afford to keep schools in shape and have enough cops on the street but they are expected to make rich guys richer? I am sure it’s great having pro team but is it really worth it? let them move the team to seattle then see what happens in 10 years when they are not the shiny new toy and have not won any championships. see how the attendance looks then and wait for the threats to up grade that stadium begin.

  11. philtration - Sep 19, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    He is right.
    It is unfit for the NBA…. and that is why the Bucks play there instead.

  12. flexnfx - Sep 20, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    Be very leery Bucs fans….Seattle is not after your team, but the NBA is about to convince you it is.

    supersonicsconspiracy blogspot com

    • jjthesportsguy - Sep 20, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      There is no conspiracy, David Stern is just a crook. Remember the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers? How about the fact that the team leading the league in attendance couldn’t afford Durant, Westbrook, and Harden? – and would have been a title contender for 10 years. Anyone know how many top 2 picks the Cavaliers have had since LeBron left? Or how about the Hornets snagging the number one pick just after being sold?

      It’s okay though…Milwaukee got the number one pick when the top 2 guys in everyone’s eyes were Marvin Williams and Bogut. Try and convince me that Stern doesn’t want the Bucks in a new market.

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