Kohl promises to keep Bucks in Milwaukee, threatens that Bucks will leave without arena subsidies

Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl declared yesterday that he’s dedicated to keeping the team in town, stating “the Bucks stay here” and stating his commitment to getting a new arena built:

“We have to get there. It’s important for our community and our state to get there. And along with that, that will see to it that the Bucks stay here. They sort of need each other. A facility needs the Bucks, and the Bucks need a facility. We are determined to get there.”

So that’s … hey, hang on. Roll that tape again.

“That will see to it that the Bucks stay here.”

So if Milwaukee doesn’t build a new arena for the Bucks — and Kohl has made clear that, notwithstanding him being a billionaire and all, he expects the bulk of the money to come from the public — then that won’t see to it that the Bucks stay here? Meaning the Bucks will then move?

It’s a classic example of the non-threat threat, something that Kohl has proven himself an expert at in the past. If you do it right, you get headlines reading “Herb Kohl dedicated to keeping Bucks in Milwaukee” while simultaneously sending the message that if he doesn’t get what he wants, the team will be gone, and it won’t be his fault, it’ll be yours. Nice work if you can get it.

4 comments on “Kohl promises to keep Bucks in Milwaukee, threatens that Bucks will leave without arena subsidies

  1. Kohl lucked out with the original Bradley estate donation of $90 mil in 1988 to build the thing. I guess he’s putting his eggs in the more standard approach to a replacement arena, because I doubt the Bradley estate is going to kick in for a second arena.

    Naming rights for Bradley Center sold to BMO Harris
    It was Jane Bradley Pettit’s $90 million donation that led to the construction of the Bradley Center in memory of her father, Harry Lynde Bradley. Four years ago, the family said selling the naming rights would degrade their mother’s gift.
    The BMO Harris contribution, coupled with significant sponsorship commitments from Harley-Davidson, Kohl’s Corp., Northwestern Mutual and Rockwell Automation as well as other companies, totals more than $18 million over six years.
    The BMO Harris naming rights component of the financial commitment is believed to be more than $1 million a year.

  2. There is absolutely no chance Herb Kohl has had any kind of conversation with Kevin Johnson on this topic. Not a chance in a million.

  3. Of course not; he talked to Stern about how he was able to pull it all off with the Kings, and how they can do the same exact thing in a few years, only this time without the team being put up for sale.

  4. The Bradley Center, elegant & unique from its eternal architectue, was internally configured for the wrong sport. With a replacement upper seating deck (particularly redoing the corners) it could be brought up to par (from a spectator’s standpoint) with combined basketball/hockey arenas. Under-0utilized portions of the lower bowl and the cavernous lobbies could be reconfigured to add premium seatng and other revenue-producing options, as well. It would be a shame to raze such a structure with so much going for it otherwise.