“Optimism” in Milwaukee over Bucks arena is “fading,” says TV station, so it must be true

Oh, goodie, somebody in Milwaukee has noticed that a new Bucks arena would actually have to be paid for, and the new Bucks owners aren’t going to do it themselves:

When the sale of the Milwaukee Bucks was announced, the city was filled with optimism, but now, as the community debates how a new arena will be paid for, some of that optimism is fading.

“There just seems to be a tendency — at least the initial response from a lot of people in the community is ‘no, we can’t do that, it’s going to cost too much, it’ll be too hard’,” said Rich Kirchen, from the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Uh-oh, not Rich Kirchen, he of the prediction that 2013 would be the “launching pad” for a new arena because 48 Chamber of Commerce members turned out to a meeting to decide that nobody knew how to pay for one, and before that the mouthpiece for NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s demands for a new arena. What does Kirchen have to say this time?

“Over the last 15 years, there have been 13 arenas built — anywhere from 3 percent to 100 percent public financing. There were four that were paid for with 100 percent public money, but in between there’s a mix about 50 to 60 percent typically,” said Kirchen.

That’s probably fair enough — I haven’t checked it yet against Judith Grant Long’s figures, which would probably show a few more hidden public costs, if anything, but it sounds about right. It’s also, of course, entirely irrelevant — it’s the “all the other kids are doing it” argument — but who cares about that when there’s an arena to be built, right?

To its credit, the Fox6 report this is all drawn from does note that the new Golden State Warriors arena is set to be entirely privately financed, and that the Brooklyn Nets‘ arena didn’t generate the profits it was expecting. It doesn’t go into much detail about what public funds would likely be tapped to help pay for a Bucks arena, or whether this would be a good investment for taxpayers, or anything like that, but compared to some of the reporting coming out of Milwaukee, it’s positively in-depth. Baby steps, I guess.


5 comments on ““Optimism” in Milwaukee over Bucks arena is “fading,” says TV station, so it must be true

  1. I’ve never heard Michael Murphy, Jr. make so much sense in his life. I would love to see him get some dilapidated houses torn down as part of the arena negotiations.

  2. I kind of wonder about all these upper-midwest cities, all of which seem to be losing population to the southwest and the west. Is Detroit the future? Probably not — that’s the worst-case scenario.

    But for 25 year olds, fresh out of college, San Diego or Portland or Seattle or the Bay area sure seems a lot more attractive than Milwaukee or Indianapolis or Chicago. Or Detroit.

  3. Sounds like Milwaukee just wants to build anything with 4 walls and a roof.

    I would hate to see them half-ass something like this similar to how Detroit’s trying to do with their red barn.

  4. As a pro sports owning multi-zillionaire, you’ve got to make every hook or crook argument you can to get that public trough money flowing your way. And preferably, you buy some local pols and journalists and have them make that noise for you. Having your p.r. guys do it is just… unseemly, not to mention ineffective.

  5. Louis,

    Ha! That’s the exact problem with the Bradley Center. It was built cheap. That’s why it frustrates me when people say it’s ok because it’s on 25 years old. The building was antiquated when it was 8 years old because it was built so cheaply.