By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 10, 2023 at 10:33 AM

The Board of the Wisconsin Center District (WCD) – which oversees the Wisconsin Center, Miller High Life Theatre and UW-M Panther Arena – authorized a partnership with Baird for the naming rights of the expanded Wisconsin Center convention facility.

The building is expected to be named the Baird Center, said a WCD spokesperson.

Financial terms of the deal – which is being brokered by Legends and will officially begin when the center opens – were not included in Friday's announcement.

A new logo for the venue will be unveiled at the project's topping off ceremony on April 11.

“The WCD leadership team and I are dedicated to leveraging our core values to Be Bold. Be Proud. Be Experience Obsessed. to guide every business decision we make,” said WCD President and CEO Marty Brooks.

“Since our Board trusted our bold vision and authorized the expansion project in 2020, we knew that a naming rights agreement would follow."

Financial services firm Baird was founded in Milwaukee in 1919.

"The ideal naming rights partner would be homegrown, have a world-class reputation and, for the greatest possible success, share our core values and commitment to the city of Milwaukee," added Brooks.

"Baird meets and exceeds those qualifications and will give our convention center, and our city, yet another spectacular reason for visitors to add Milwaukee to their list of not-to-be-missed destinations.”

Ground was broken on the $456 million Wisconsin Center expansion to the north in October 2021 and it is expected to be completed in May.

The expanded center will have 52 meeting rooms,  300,000 contiguous square feet of exhibit space, 22 loading docks, a 400-stall indoor parking garage, and a rooftop ballroom with seating for 2,000 and outdoor terraces. There will also be quiet rooms, nursing mother’s rooms, dedicated gender-neutral restrooms and a locally selected public art.

The venue is also pursuing LEED Silver certification.

You can take a look at our recent walkthrough of the project here.

“This agreement fits with our ongoing efforts to build Baird’s brand across our global footprint and reflects our longstanding commitment to giving back to the communities where we live and work,” said Baird Chairman and CEO Steve Booth.

“The new state of the art convention center will enhance Milwaukee’s growing reputation as a modern, forward-looking city, and we are honored to support and be part of its success.”

Added WCD Board Chairman Jim Kanter, “Since the vote to authorize the expansion of the Wisconsin Center in April of 2020, the WCD Board has acted boldly to continue to enhance Milwaukee as a world-class destination.

“For us to now sign-off on a long-term partnership with a hometown institution like Baird is a tremendous representation of how the Board and the entire WCD Leadership Team continue to work together to move things forward and make Milwaukee a destination for conventions and events for many years to come."

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.