Bucks owner says Milwaukee needs arena to keep Bucks, and Bucks to get arena, and — wait, I’ll start again

As regular readers of this site know, sports owners seldom level outright threats to move their teams if their subsidy demands aren’t met, since it’s tough to lead a season-ticket drive when you’re being hung in effigy. So this, from Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl yesterday, is about as close as we’re going to get:

“We’re gonna get a facility. I’m confident we’re going to get a facility because it’s an important thing, not only for basketball but for our community. And in order to keep the Bucks, we have to have a facility. And in order to get a facility, we have to keep the Bucks. So it’s like a two-fer: We’re either going to get both in the years ahead or we’re going to have neither.”

Yes, that’s pretty confusing wording as threats go, but the headline writers got the point anyway. As did CBS Sports basketball writer Matt Moore, who wrote today:

The Kings managed to beat back the vultures, but the reality is that Seattle now stands as the NBA’s leverage piece against any city with facilities that don’t maximize profit. Does Milwaukee care enough about the Bucks to keep them in town? Their answer will have to be with their taxes, or we’re going to have a repeat of what went on in Sacramento, regardless of Kohl’s intentions.

With sportswriters like these, who needs to make your own coherent threats?

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7 comments on “Bucks owner says Milwaukee needs arena to keep Bucks, and Bucks to get arena, and — wait, I’ll start again

  1. So that means Kohl is ready to sell the Bucks for the right price ? Seattle’s arena isn’t slated to be built without Hansen/Ballmer owning an NBA team that is ready to play in the KeyArena for a few years. To own a team the NBA would have to vote 2/3rds in favor of Chris “secret donations that undermine the NBA BOG decisions and sabotage one member” Hansen. The best chance the Bucks have of staying is probably for Kohl to sell to a local with a plan. It’s not exactly easy for a multi-decade senator to extort the public (openly).

  2. Something something sports teams don’t create new revenue, something something it just re-distributes revenue within the community.
    Milwaukee doesn’t need the Bucks.

  3. The day Hansen offers to spend more than $400M of his own cash, I’ll start worrying. Until then I think Senator Kohl will close his eyes and hope for a new building, but end up taking some tax money to renovate the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

  4. … if you actually make direct threat to move (rather than having the commish do it for you) you also run the risk that people will actually think about what having you leave town means to them, rather than the “impending unknown doom” scenario, where the suggestion is that something terrible (and, crucially, non-specific) will happen.

    Anyone who has ever been in a large crowd of people when a commotion starts somewhere that you cannot see or hear directly will understand the concept.

    What is it? Did someone drop their iPhone? It could be a car crash. Could be a fire. Could be a chainsaw wielding maniac or aliens abducting humans for food. You just don’t know. And that’s almost always worse than knowing…

    It may be that the actual impact of your moribund franchise (and its shameless owner) leaving town is really ok with many (or even most) of the people – as it was in Los Angeles for the NFL.

    I’m sure some fans miss the Sonics, for example. Chris Hansen definitely seems to. But has Seattle become a wasteland without them? Nope. In fact, the sports scene in Seattle is way more vibrant now than it was in the dying days of the Sonics…

    Is it just me, or does Kohl make him self look more buffoonish every time he opens his mouth? Seriously, Wisconsin, this is the best you can do for a Senator???

  5. Ben:

    I agree that you probably don’t need to worry. Hansen shot his arrow in the air with the Kings gambit. While people dump all over him for doing it (in some cases with justification), I suspect he was privately encouraged by the NBA to do just that… maybe not even so privately.

    His “job” was to be point man/stalking horse used to get the Kings a new arena deal now. I’m not sure if he knew that or not, or if he really believed he would be allowed to buy and move the Kings.

    Stern has already strongly hinted that Seattle will be an expansion team. I believe it will be, but maybe not until Hansen can don his “Dr. No” outfit once more to get a new arena for the Bucks (or somebody else).

    Then, if he plays nice and shovels coal like they ask him to, they’ll offer him an expansion team for $450m.

    Because that’s how organized crime rolls…

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