The average attendance at Milwaukee County Stadium in 1995 was 13,427. Many nights, though, this number was south of 10,000. People were generally not interested in the Brewers, many wouldn't have cared if they left while others wanted the heads of the Seligs on a platter.
Truth be told, Milwaukee really didn't follow or think much about this team. Oh sure, a core group of fans did, but the selling of Miller Park wasn't easy.
Yet, without Miller Park we would have never lured new ownership, new players and eventually a return to greatness and huge crowds that are the envy of much-larger cities.
Where am I going with this? I worked on the lobbying and public relations team during the Miller Park saga/process. It was fascinating and full of passion. At the heart of the "should we build the Brewers a new ballpark" process was the fact that NOTHING else can truly bring a community together in a big way like sports.
People rally around their teams, jump on bandwagons, wear jerseys and high five strangers. This happens with winning, but also because teams have the resources to build fan bases, enhance the game day experience and build pipelines that fund projects and players.
I'm a passionate sports fan. I'm also a nearly 20-year Milwaukee Bucks season ticket holder. I love basketball. And, I love Milwaukee. So, I loved it when I heard Senator Kohl was going to be at the Bucks season ending news conference last week. I knew what was coming, his first real step towards a new arena.
The Bucks need a new facility. And, it's an amazing opportunity for Milwaukee and Wisconsin. The Bradley Center is the oldest non renovated NBA arena in the country.
I'll save my "reasons why blog" for later, but let's just say major league cities do major league projects. New arenas, structures and revenues help teams win. Milwaukee rocks, but it needs a new, modern NBA facility with all the "bells and whistles" (restaurants, retail, etc,) to move forward.
The ball is rolling, which is good and a testament to Sen. Kohl, the MMAC and others. But, to use words from the Brewers stadium building saga, I say "Build It Now!"
Great article Jeff. Need more support from Milwaukee media like you to help get public support towards a new arena. One thing I think that needs to be more emphasized is this won't be just a "playground for milllionaires" as this won't be just for the Milwaukee Bucks. This is an entertainment complex which can attract lots of new concerts, shows, support Marquette basketball program, Milwaukee Wave, etc. This project will be the true definition of job creation and revitalizing the downtown district.
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