Wisconsin voters on Bucks arena: We will not fund it on a boat, we will not fund it with a goat

We already knew that Milwaukee area residents were overwhelmingly opposed to a sales tax hike to help fund a new Milwaukee Bucks arena. Now it turns out they’re overwhelmingly opposed to giving the Bucks owners any public money of any kind:

Sixty-three percent of those surveyed in the five-county region said they were opposed to spending state funds for such a purpose. A total of 34% were in support of spending state money for a new Bucks arena.

Statewide, an even larger percentage, 73%, were against spending state money on a new arena, while 24% were in support…

Asked if they supported spending state money on development of infrastructure associated with a new arena, 53% of those surveyed within the five-county area said they were opposed, while 45% were in support.

Statewide, 60% were opposed, compared with 37% who were in support.

Not that this is likely to stop talks about public funding for a new Bucks arena, since elected officials (and certainly sports team owners) tend to see massive public opposition as a hurdle to clear, not a mandate to be followed. Though it may get a few local politicians worrying what the consequences will be if they throw themselves behind another unpopular sports facility funding plan.

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16 comments on “Wisconsin voters on Bucks arena: We will not fund it on a boat, we will not fund it with a goat

  1. Umm, yeah, in Seattle those who opposed sports subsidies ran NBA Proponent Mayor McGinn out of office and, in the same election, the Sonics fans were backing a Socialist opposed to corporate wealth and welfare at the expense of the common man.

    Or maybe enough things happen with local politics that being a sports league shill only resonates with a few.

  2. Chefjoe: Conlin vs Sawant, was it? I was actually in Seattle visiting relatives during the elections. Found it rather puzzling that they’d try and vote out a councilman opposed to the arena project in favor of a candidate who figures to be an even bigger opponent of it.

  3. This will be an interesting one to watch. Will elected officials really risk their jobs for a Bucks arena? I wonder how different the conversation would be if the Bucks had had more than like one good season over the last two decades?

  4. The Bucks are gone. No one cares about that team there. Question is, where will they go, if Seattle isn’t an option? The NBA has pretty much tapped the market well. Is Montreal an option? LOL.

  5. If there is a strong will to keep the Bucks in Milwaukie, I hope that a way can be contrived to build a new arena and for the team to stay there. As a resident of Seattle area and a life long Sonic Fan, I can say that losing your team stinks and getting another one is not easy. We (fans) supported the team thru some bad seasons with poor ownership, management and players. Incompetence and mental lethargy in State and Local Electeds as welll as an owner (Howard Schutlz) that sold the team to out of town interests even though there were local buyers that wanted the team. Us fans felt helpless. Good luck to you but if you don’t or won’t build a new arena we would take the Bucks gladly, just as you took the Pilots (now your Brewers.)

  6. What will the rest of the country say when the state that gave back federal funding for high-speed-rail between Chicago, Milwaukee and the Twin Cities actually takes money from their tax-payers (almost said citizens but who am I trying to kid) to build an arena for a team that most do not like? Most likely “Who are the Milwaukee Bucks?” Of all the teams in the NBA I am pretty sure in a name-all-the-teams poll they would be named the least. I feel bad for their fans but their relocation has been a long time comming.

  7. According to the Sporcle quiz on NBA teams, they’re second to last in name recognition, ahead of the Grizzlies: http://www.sporcle.com/games/g/nbateams/results

  8. It doesn’t matter that the majority oppose this funding.

    Bring in Goldman-Sachs, and, trust me, a deal can get done.

    $7B in *NEW* revenues over the next 36 years!

  9. Why do they need a new building? I went there a little over a year ago for a hockey game, and it seemed perfectly fine for me. And yes, I mean perfectly fine for NBA basketball.

  10. The Bucks will stay. Milwaukee already has $25M/yr in tourist taxes (hotels, rental cars, etc.) but it’s used for the convention center, the previous Bucks arena and 4,000 seat theater. If push comes to shove I think they’ll sell or raze those three buildings and use the remaining $16M/yr to bridge the funding gap.

    I’m actually with James G. on the current arena. It needs extensive renovations but I don’t think it’s irretrievable.

  11. One of the comments in the linked article states:
    “When LeBron James left Cleveland, peripheral revenue dropped 50% and employees were laid off and taxes dropped so significantly, the city had to alter many of its plans.”
    Anything to that claim?

  12. That’s a huge exaggeration. Overall Cuyahoga County ticket tax revenue did go down some the year LeBron left because Cavs attendance dropped, but nothing like 50%, and I haven’t heard anything about resulting layoffs. It sounds like that commenter took what Ed FitzGerald said here and blew it way out of proportion:


  13. The Clippers sold for $2 Billion. That price means the game has changed. Owners are holding massive financial assets. Why in the world would they need a handout? The days of the public supporting arenas is over. The Bucks should take out a loan against franchise value. Period.

  14. The days of the public supporting arenas is over.

    That’s what they said after the recession hit.

  15. You hear “Taxpayers opposed” and I hear “Done deal.”
    Taxpayers are always opposed to stadium subsidies, but the subsidies not only keep flowing, they keep getting worse (bigger). This will play out very much like the Sacramento scam, in which enormous, stupendous Economic Impact will carry the day and riches will abound. For some people.

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