Besides playing in one of the NBA’s smallest markets, the Milwaukee Bucks (NBA) face another huge challenge: Bradley Center may be at the end of its economic lifespan.
Bradley Center, the successor to the MECCA, was a top-level NBA facility when it opened 24 years ago. With a decent capacity — 18,700 — and a good downtown location, the arena generated more than enough revenue for the Bucks, the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals and promoters looking for a large concert venue.
Today, though, Bradley Center may be at the end of the line. This Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article lays out why: the arena’s physical footprint is some 150,000 square feet smaller than most NBA arenas, which limits the amount of concourse sales and amenities designed for upscale customers. It has only 47 suites and, most importantly, lacks a club level.
There’s been talk of a new arena in Milwaukee off and on in the past few years. Milwaukee County and the city have been having their own financial issues, so there’s a limited amount of public money available for any new facility. While team owner Sen. Herb Kohl has indeed help fund a new arena in recent years, that came in Madison, where a large gift from the alumnus kick-started the fundraising for the University of Wisconsin‘s Kohl Center. And, truth be know, there are a lot of taxpayers in Milwaukee who would expect to see Kohl prime the pump for a new arena with his own money, much in the same way a gift launched the original construction of the Bradley Center.
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