Milwaukee Bucks introduce “digital tour” of their PR spin for new arena

The Milwaukee Bucks have introduced an interactive virtual tour that fans can take of the team’s new $500 million arena that taxpayers are funding virtually all of , and — hey, wait a minute, that’s not an interactive virtual tour, that’s a video of some Bucks guy taking an interactive virtual tour! We want to do our own clicking on our own touchscreens, Bucks guy!

Anyway, for those who can’t be bothered to take 2:33 to watch the video, here are the highlights:

  • The virtual tour is “used in all of our meetings” and “super-impactful”!
  • There will be a lobby!
  • Fans sitting in the first four rows will get their own VIP entrance, so they aren’t forced to hobnob with those peons sitting in the fifth row!
  • Those VIP fans will get to gawk at/reach out and touch/throw things at the players as they enter the court via their tunnel from the locker room, because that’s worked oh so well in the past.
  • Designer types call entry ramps “vomitories” without thinking its funny, and apparently without thinking everyone else will think it’s funny.
  • Seventy-five percent of the main concourse is open to the court area, so that you can “grab a beer” and “still watch the action.” Now, having spent a lot of time at baseball games where open concourses are more common, I can tell you how this will work: Because of sports geometry, while you are waiting on line for your beer, you will only be able to see the airspace above the actual game; because of sports fan behavior, you won’t be able to see much of it, because lots of people will be standing at the edge of the concourse, blocking your view. So in reality, you will be waiting to grab your beer, will hear a big noise, look over to see what happened, not be able to see a damn thing, try to decide whether to run back to the seating bowl (or the vomitory) to see what’s going on, decide it’s too late, then look up at the video screens placed by the beer line to watch that instead. I.e., exactly what you’d do in a space without an open concourse, but with the added feature of eliminating several rows of decent seats and replacing them with ones at the back of the upper level.
  • Bucks guy says of the concourse that “this is where most of the guests are going to spend their time,” so either he’s anticipating really slow beer lines or acknowledging that most people will be there to eat the food, not watch the Bucks.
  • “Everybody is much closer to the action.” There is no way that this is true, especially when you consider those gaps for the open concourses, but it is a thing that every arena and stadium developer says, so this guy is contractually required to, too.
  • Those creepy party spaces where fans won’t get to see the game but will get to be bathed in strange neon lights are now called the “sky mezzanine level,” and the Bucks are “really excited” for people to use them for weddings and corporate events and stuff other than watching Bucks games, because that would be a terrible idea.
  • And speaking of terrible ideas, the “corner sponsor towers” that likewise featured no way for most fans to see the game and possibly no railings appear to be gone, though it’s hard to tell without a virtual tour that I can actually control.

In short, it looks pretty much like every other new sports venue, with maybe a couple of unique elements that could be fun or could be awful, but now comes with a heaping helping of PR to help you understand why you’re having a better time, whether or not you actually are. If that’s not super-impactful, I don’t know what is.

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12 comments on “Milwaukee Bucks introduce “digital tour” of their PR spin for new arena

  1. Open concourses are fantastic for baseball; it makes you feel like you are at a park and it’s fun to roam the concourse. But the public still shouldn’t pay for it!

    1. All else being equal, sure, an open concourse doesn’t hurt. But when you think of the entire deck of seats that is pushed skyward to create that gap … I’d rather buy my french fries in a tunnel, thanks, and watch the game from the seats I bought for that purpose.

      1. I used to love walking up the tunnel and seeing the field come into view. Even for hoops and hockey, I like the tunnels. Down with open concourses.

      2. I like to buy cheap or SRO seats and roam the concourse, but to each their own. And there is no question that the case for open concourse is far less compelling for an indoor arena.

      3. “Bucks guy says of the concourse that “this is where most of the guests are going to spend their time,” so either he’s anticipating really slow beer lines or acknowledging that most people will be there to eat the food, not watch the Bucks.”

        Nobody with good seats is spending most of their time on the concourse. He seems to be saying most fans will have crappy seats where they’ll be looking for excuses to get down closer to the action. Maybe they anticipate the open concept displacing even more seats than is the norm?

  2. How do arenas with open concourses handle theater style lighting? Loooong black curtains? I guess no cirque du soleil shows in Milwaukee’s future.

  3. They had open concourses for the Superdome (preremodel) that were exactly like that. Can’t see sh*t…especially with a beer vendor in the way. Any open space will be utilized to put a table to sell food or trinkets before long. Or a bilboard. Besides, no one speaks of “open concourses” for the upperdeck, the only place I can actually afford to sit.

    1. The Bucks say there will be an open concourse for the upper deck. This will come in handy if you’re longing for a view of the opposite side of the arena roof.

      1. The big advantage of the upper open concourse isn’t the view (you’re 100% right on that), it’s the “upside down” entrance to the section, so you don’t get the big tunnel in the middle, which, really, I can’t believe more places haven’t done.

  4. It’s incredibly disingenuous for the rep in the video to talk about how great it is to replace upper level seats with lower level seats. The biggest con of the modern sports stadium is to replace (relatively) inexpensive GA style seating for people there to watch a game, and replace it with high end seating for people there to…… well I’m not really sure why you would want to be at a club in a basketball arena. Then they turn around and say that it is good for the fan. In reality, the fan’s tax dollars are paying to replace a seat he could afford with one he will never afford.

  5. I’ve always been a huge opponent of open concourses. Like Neil is saying, upper level fans are now an extra 10 feet higher than they were before. If they thought the upper level view at BMO Harris was bad, it’s going to get even worse.

  6. Great site, Neil, one that backs up my decision a few years ago to give up attending major league sports teams to watch minor league and college teams instead. You see dumb things at that level too (Tacoma’s AAA ballpark renovation cost $28 million and resulted in almost 4,000 FEWER seats and no grandstand roof in a city where it really does rain between April and June), but at least the scale is almost comprehensible.

    BTW, keep an eye on Seattle, where the fix is apparently in regarding the arena situation there. The city council is stalling on any decisions concerning Chris Hansen’s proposed privately-financed arena south of Safeco Field so they can push through renovations to city-owned UnnamedBankArena (nobody’s paying ME naming rights) at the Seattle Center instead, even though that area is a perpetual traffic miasma and no NBA or NHL team owner is going to want to play games in a building they don’t control.

    The Seattle Times is willingly playing the role of useful village idiot by waving pom-poms in favor of UnnamedBankArena renovations, touted as a “public/private partnership” (hide your wallets, taxpayers), either as a tradeoff for access at City Hall or kickback$ from the Port of $eattle, which is trying to kill Hansen’s arena. Or both.

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