There are no specific plans yet for a Milwaukee Bucks D-League team, but five Wisconsin cities — including CBA stalwart La Crosse — have reached out to the team to indicate their strong interest in hosting the squad.
Representatives from Sheboygan, Grand Chute (Appleton/Fox Cities), Oshkosh, Racine and La Crosse have all expressed interest in hosting a Bucks D-League team. Some cities would need to build a new arena to host a D-League team; some cities, like La Crosse, have an arena ready to host pro basketball (in the case of La Crosse, the downtown La Crosse Center). And, in the case of La Crosse, there’s a history of supporting pro basketball: the La Cross Catbirds were a cornerstone franchise in the old Continental Basketball Association, giving flight to the likes of the late Flip Saunders in their professional careers.
In the case of Grand Chute, city manager Jim March contacted the team and floated the possibility of a new arena to host the team. The city already hosts the successful Midwest League Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in a publicly owned ballpark, and obviously there’s the feeling that success could be applied to pro basketball. From the Post-Crescent:
In his letter, Grand Chute’s March cited two “premier locations” — both of which he declined to formally name — that are each located near Interstate 41.
“Both locations will allow the team to draw fans from Green Bay to Fond du Lac on a regular basis,” he said.
He cited the town’s strong retail reputation, the strength of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers franchise and Fox Cities Convention & Visitor’s Bureau tourism development fund, which is “specifically dedicated,” according to March, to “sports facility development,” but it’s unclear if the fund would be used to fund a prospective D-League facility.
“I think we’re a good location,” March told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin on Tuesday. “We host a lot of tourism events.”
It will be interesting to see how the Bucks proceed on the D-League front; it’s not normal to see four cities so interested in hosting a team.
(Editor’s note: the original story omitted Oshkosh from the list of contending cities. You can read more about their bid here.)