Bucks owner Herb Kohl has been working with city officials in Milwaukee for years now on a plan to get a new arena done in the city. In lean economic times, that is a big mountain to climb.
However the reason is simple — it’s one of the worst buildings in the league. And cities with worse ones — for example, the Sleep Train in Sacramento — are already moving well along on plans to replace their structures.
Don’t take my word for it being an issue, commissioner-in-waiting Adam Silver (the guy who takes over for David Stern come Feb. 1) said so at an event in Milwaukee on Wednesday, reports the Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee.
“One obvious issue we all have to deal with is we need a new arena in Milwaukee,” said Adam Silver, deputy National commissioner, speaking of the BMO Harris Bradley Center….
“At the end of the day compared to other modern arenas in the league, this arena is a few hundred thousand square feet too small,” Silver said. “It doesn’t have the sort of back-of-house space you need, doesn’t have the kinds of amenities we need.
“It doesn’t have the right sort of upper bowl/lower bowl (seating) configuration for the teams frankly that Milwaukee wants to compete against,” he said.
The Bucks signed a lease extension in 2011 that runs through 2017, but by the end of that a plan to get a new arena built is supposed to be in place (or maybe even work could have started).
Kohl has worked hard on efforts to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee, there is a long tradition and a great fan base there. Of course, if this comes to a showdown over the arena in four years there will be cities sitting on the sidelines willing to jump in with their plans or buildings. For now nothing is changing, but the battle lines are being drawn now as the league pushes Milwaukee and its ownership to get something done.