Friday, December 23, 2011

Milwaukee sports arena news

Maybe there was a Brewer stimulus after all. The Miller Park Stadium District announced a huge increase in October sales taxes in the stadium district, reflected in this month's distributions being up nearly 16 percent vs. the same month last year. In fact, the last 3 months of sales tax collections (reflecting August- October) now show a clear increase from the same months in 2010, as the collections were up 11.5% this year.

Good to hear, as Milwaukee County could especially use the extra revenues. But it also illustrates the rest of the state didn't join in, as the DOR revenue figures from October show that sales taxes were only up 3.6% statewide at the same time. So once the Brewer and Holiday seasons wear off, watch out below on that figure.

Also, there was a rare Scott Walker move this week that I agree with. Walker said the Bradley Center can raise its own damn money for repairs and maintenance, and I agree. In tight budget times, this is something that can afford to be cut, and something that the Bucks and Marquette and the Bradley Center board should be ready to take care of. Yes, the Bradley Center has its financial difficulties, but that's what you get with a 22-year old arena that was out of date 5 years after it was built. Given that Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee are constantly cutting services, they shouldn't be expected to chip in more for any type of major renovation or new arena.

And frankly, there's not really the demand there, as the Bucks were 23rd in NBA attendance in 2010-2011, with an average of more than 3,000 empty seats each night. Honestly, if the Bucks left, there'd be a minor effect at some nearby bars, but other than that, would they really be missed? I think it's a risk worth accepting at this point, especially given that the NBA did nothing to change the two-tier society that exists in that league, where the league's stars demand to go to a handful of teams. I can't see the Bucks as a long-term viable option, and it's OK to me if they evetually leave to be more competitive. Maybe after Herb Kohl kicks the bucket.

Sorry to be rough there, but the Bradley Center will still have a use after the Bucks leave. Marquette basketball, the Admirals and concerts can still be there, and it'll turn the Bradley Center back towards one of its original intents- to be a target for any NHL team that wants to relocate. I think hockey would work every bit as well as the Bucks would, for both attendance, interest, and revenue development. So why not make the trade?

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