SBD/December 19, 2013/Franchises

Wisconsin Gov. Voices Support for Kohl, But Says New Bucks Arena Not An Easy Sell

Walker said a Bradley Center replacement would not be an obvious sell for the public
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday said Bucks Owner Herb Kohl "has been amazing for Wisconsin with the Bucks," but added Kohl is "going to have to have some more folks if the team is going to stick around." Walker, appearing on Milwaukee-based WSSP-AM, said the BMO Harris Bradley Center is "one of the older arenas out there" in the NBA, but a new arena is "not an obvious sell for the public." Walker: "Clearly, if something doesn't happen, a place like Seattle or somewhere else is going to come out and somebody's going to try and grab this team. So in the end, this massive group that's been put together of civic leaders will probably come up with a unique series of things that require some public, but also some private support as well, because that's going to be part of the key to getting this done." He added having the Bucks is "important just for a thriving downtown" to support local businesses, "but in a larger context for Milwaukee and even for Wisconsin it's important" because if an area has a "team and somehow the team leaves, there's something that goes far beyond sports to even what it says about a community." Walker: "That's why it's important we find a way to make this work ... (but) whatever it requires in terms of public support will probably require some sort of a referendum" ("Chuck & Wickett," WSSP-AM, 12/17).

GET THE BALL ROLLING: In Milwaukee, Don Walker noted Kohl by retaining Allen & Co. has ensured the process of adding investors for the Bucks "will be in secret and few, if any, leaks will occur until Kohl is ready to announce his new ownership team." Kohl's announcement on Monday that a "new arena is not just about the Bucks," was "his way of telling the local business community and potential local investors that it's time to start talking." The Cultural & Entertainment Capital Needs Task Force, which "met for the first time Friday, will spend the next year studying the various capital needs of the region's institutions, including" BMO Harris Bradley Center. At the same time, a "smaller group of Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce members is meeting and gathering information on what to do with the aging arena." MMAC President Timothy Sheehy on Monday said that he believes "with Kohl's announcement, local investors will spring forth" (JSONLINE.com, 12/17).
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