Bucks’ new president calls for public financing of new arena
Public financial support is needed for a new, multipurpose arena to help stimulate downtown Milwaukee development, the new president of the Bucks said Tuesday.
At a luncheon sponsored by the Rotary and the Milwaukee Press Club, Peter Feigin said city, county and state support is crucial to build upon what the Bucks hope is a much larger investment in downtown, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
While a new arena is expected to cost between $400 million and $500 million, Feigin said it could help bring more than $1 billion in development.
"We wouldn’t get that without assistance," Feigin said.
Asked how much land the Bucks would need for a new arena, Feigin said the NBA team wants to have as large a footprint as possible in order to "make it as opportunistic as we can."
"We are putting the pieces together," Feigin said. He said navigating the public-private partnership, and working with the city, county and state can slow the timetable.
Bucks owners Wes Edens and Marc Lasry have pledged at least $150 million toward a new arena. Former Sen. Herb Kohl, who sold the team for $550 million, also has pledged $100 million.
Feigin said the Bucks have a long way to go to rebuild the relationship with the corporate community in Milwaukee. He said the Bucks have the smallest season-ticket base in the league, an estimated 4,000 holders. That compares with the league average of about 10,000.
He said 80 percent of the franchise’s season-ticket holders are individually owned, while the remaining 20 percent are held by corporations, a situation he called "horrendous."
"We want to change Wisconsin, we want to change Milwaukee, we want to build a multifaceted arena that is a magnet for tourism, for revenue, for economic growth, for employment and we want the Bucks to be the catalyst," Feigin said.
The Bucks are still in search of an arena site. A number of sites are still in play, including land just north of the Bucks’ current home at BMO Harris Bradley Center, which is largely controlled by the Bradley Center Sports & Entertainment Corp., which manages the center.