By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published May 21, 2012 at 9:40 AM

On Monday, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, the Bradley Center, the Milwaukee Bucks and BMO Harris Bank announced a naming sponsorship by BMO Harris Bank that will expand the name of the building to the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, president and owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, added:

"Today's announcement establishing the BMO Harris Bradley Center is an extension of the generosity of Jane Bradley Pettit and her family, David and Lynde Uihlein," said Kohl, owner of the Milwaukee Bucks.

"The efforts of the Bradley Center Board, the commitment of BMO Harris, and the contributions of the MMAC and its members that have contributed to the Champions Campaign are strong indications that the economic and social contributions of sports and entertainment to our region are important and need broad support now and in the future."

The updated name will take effect immediately, with the BMO Harris Bradley Center name soon appearing on the outside of the building, on the scoreboard and other interior signage and elsewhere.

"The BMO Harris Bradley Center name will be a terrific addition to Milwaukee," said MMAC President Tim Sheehy. "The Bradley Center has a net annual economic impact of more than $80 million in metro Milwaukee – it's a tremendous community asset and job creator. When we issued a call for Champions of the Community to help build a bridge from the Bradley Center to the future, BMO Harris Bank really stepped up. This sponsorship will have a big and important impact."

As for BMO Harris, executive vice president Brad Chapin said: "Sponsorship of a community treasure like the Bradley Center is a great opportunity for us to deepen our local commitment and strengthen our relationships with customers in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin. The new BMO Harris Bradley Center represents a solid, positive investment for the future, and we are proud to be associated with such a wonderful building with a glorious past."

Chapin also added that the bank will begin a six-year sponsorship of the Milwaukee Bucks and will start a BMO Harris Boys & Girls Club seating area.

In addition to BMO Harris, a number of other area businesses have supported the Champions effort. Major supporters include Harley-Davidson, Kohl's Corporation, Northwestern Mutual and Rockwell Automation. Other local sponsors include A.O. Smith Corporation, Actuant, Addison Clifton LLC, Associated Bank, Bank Mutual Corporation, Baptista's Bakery, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Fiduciary Management Inc., Fiserv Inc., Fred Luber, Manpower, MGIC, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, MillerCoors, Park Bank, Potawatomi Bingo Casino, PS Capital Partners LLC, Robert W. Baird & Co., Victory Personnel Services, Waukesha Metal Products and We Energies.

Specific company contributions were not disclosed, but Sheehy said the Champions effort has so far raised more than $18 million, including the BMO Harris sponsorship and the building's expanded name.

"The investments by these committed local Champions will help extend the life of our building and enhance the fan experience to help assure the Center's continued success over the next few years," said Marc Marotta, Bradley Center Board chairman.

"While there is more to be done, the initial phase of this effort has certainly created a strong foundation for the bridge between the Bradley Center and the future. The investments by the local business community in the Bradley Center have set the stage for what we think can be a productive, private-public partnership. We hope others join in this effort to assure we can continue to maintain this first-class building."

Construction of the Bradley Center was funded through a $93 million donation by philanthropist Jane Bradley Pettit, who named the arena after her father, Harry Lynde Bradley, founder of Milwaukee's Allen-Bradley Company. David and Lynde Uihlein, the children of Pettit and grandchildren of Bradley, expressed full support for the effort.

"We are grateful for the community's support in working to ensure the continued viability of the Bradley Center. And, we support solutions that preserve the integrity of our family's gift to build the Bradley Center as well as ensure the success of the Bucks as Milwaukee's NBA franchise," the Uihleins said in a statement.