Saturday, May 27, 2023

$2 million for GB for the Draft? Well, Evers wants to put out more funds for more events, so win-win?

Within days of Titletown getting the 2025 NFL Draft, two WisGOPs were asking for state tax dollars to help put on the show.
Two Green Bay-area lawmakers are asking colleagues crafting the next two-year state budget to include $2 million to pay for costs associated with the Green Bay Packers hosting the National Football League draft in 2025.

Rep. David Steffen and Sen. Robert Cowles, both Republicans from Green Bay, said the money would cover a portion of the expected costs to the Packers to host the event, which Cowles and Steffen said could cost $7.5 million overall.

The measure would require the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to provide a grant to the Experience Greater Green Bay Corp., according to a draft of the budget motion Steffen's office provided to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday.
Here's a sense of the type of scale of last month's NFL Draft in Kansas City.

Interestingly, that story came out a few days ahead of the Joint Finance Committee taking up the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s budget, which includes a program that Governor Evers wanted to start which would send out similar types of assistance.
Assembly Bill 43/Senate Bill 70 would provide $20 million GPR in 2023-24 and $10 million GPR in 2024-25 to create what would be known as an Opportunity Attraction and Promotion Fund. Funding would be provided in a new, continuing appropriation intended to support marketing, advertising, and outreach to encourage large events to be held in the state, or to secure features of the state in television or film. The bill would direct Tourism to collaborate with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to implement the provision. The bill would also include 1.0 permanent position with funding of $54,800 in 2023-24 and $69,500 in 2024-25 in Tourism's general operations appropriation to administer the program. Funding of $10 million in 2024-25 would continue in the agency base for future biennia.

2. Tourism reports that the Opportunity Attraction and Promotion Fund would be used for the state to bid competitively for hosting rights of large-scale events and attractions, including professional and collegiate sporting events, large-scale festivals and conventions, state-centric features in television and film productions, and other events where travel into the state would encourage visitor spending and state exposure. Tourism cites the following recent events that occurred in Wisconsin and that demonstrate the scale of event Tourism would intend to bid on, or otherwise assist or pair with statewide promotions during the event: (a) major golf events, such the Ryder Cup, which was hosted in 2021, or the U.S. Senior Open, occurring June 27 to July 2, 2023, in Stevens Point; (b) the Crossfit Games, which have been held in Madison since 2017 and are planned to continue through 2024; (c) NASCAR, IndyCar, or other motorsports races, such as those historically held at the Milwaukee Mile or Road America; (d) the National Football League Draft, of which the 2025 event was awarded to the City of Green Bay and the Green Bay Packers on May 22; and (e) the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in Milwaukee in 2020 and 2024, respectively.

3. Tourism argues that such large events could attract national and international travelers, fans, media, and other guests into the state. A large volume of visitors would be expected to increase activity for numerous vendors in the area for the duration of the events. Media outlets that follow and report on large-scale events may provide television and written exposure to the state through normal reporting, also called "earned media."
In addition to those events, the US Women's Open for golf is set for Erin Hills in 2025, and the Bucks recently put in a bid to have Milwaukee host the NBA's All-Star Weekend for 2025 or 2026.

I want to give props to the LFB staff who quickly were able to add this tidbit about the extra costs that the Pack and the GB area will take on in order to host the Draft, and how the state could chip in to help.
It may be that state funding is warranted to assist local destination marketing organizations or other parties who seek large events and productions to be held in Wisconsin. As an example, the efforts to secure the NFL Draft in Green Bay required an agreement between the NFL and area municipalities committing public support to costs such as public works, law enforcement, fire protection, traffic management, and costs of adverse impacts on local businesses. In addition, the municipalities agreed to waive permitting fees. However, the Packers have also pledged $1 million toward an estimated $6 million to $7 million total needed for support of the NFL Draft hosting. State funding could assist municipalities in offsetting certain costs related to hosting such events, to the extent they are not covered by another organizer.

Gonna be a lot bigger than just this.

So given that the Evers Administration wants to put state dollars to attract Big Sports and other national events to Wisconsin, and given that GOPs Dave Steffen and Rob Cowles want to give some funds to help GB and the Packers put on a show for the April 2025 NFL Draft, it seems like we have the opportunity for bipartisan agreement on this.

You know, if the rest of the Legislature actually wants to be serious and not play more games where getting credit is more important than doing things that a lot of politicians on both sides agree with.

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