As the Bucks gear up to kick off their second season in the new Fiserv Forum, the team has made a number of upgrades throughout the building to enhance the experience of fans, players, performing artists and employees.
In addition to adding a gym for employees and enhancing some employee catering areas, too, the Bucks also made aesthetic changes in the players’ areas of the practice facility and locker room.
There were also back of house changes aimed at making them more appealing for performing artists playing concerts at the area, says Bucks President Peter Feigin.
"From day one we’ve done qualitative and quantitative research to get our finger on the pulse (of what fans want)," says Feigin. "Research and surveying is an important part of the road map.
"We’re so excited about going into our second year. This is about constant improvement."
Feigin took us on a tour of the changes that will affect sports fans and concert-goers.
Candy lab 2.0
While the Candy Lab had focused on a loose candy sold by the pound model, Feigin says that turned out not to be what customers wanted. Even though business was good, administrators put their heads together and boosted the experience, selling mostly packaged candy now.
"When you try things, you want to make them great," says Feigin. "We continue to learn as we explore. This is a great example of how we got the group together to improve things."
Speakeasy-inspired hospitality suite
There’s no sign on the door and that’s on purpose at a former storage area that’s been converted into a really striking meeting, small event and hospitality suite that can accommodate 50 guests.
When you walk in, there’s a long corridor that takes a bend before opening up into a room with a soaring ceiling and amazing windows that face out to the north, hence the name North Suite.
The suite will be available for rent at Bucks events but also concerts and other events.
A refinished upper concourse floor
The team was unhappy with the way that the floor was wearing on the upper level and instead of saying, "who cares about the upper conconcourse floor," they ground it down to concrete and refinished it.
"It didn’t clean well," says Feigin. "It just wasn’t aesthetically pleasing and it didn’t meet our standards."
When asked for a figure, Feigin quipped, "it was a lot of money."
New point of sale system
Over the course of a month and a half, the Bucks replaced every single cash register in the place. The new system shaves 15 to 17 seconds off every transaction and those seemingly small increments add up when you have thousands of folks buying food, beer, merch and more.
Plus, the new system allows guests to sign on-screen and have receipts emailed or forgone completely, saving paper.
3,500 new cup holders
The seats on the opposite ends of the court that are often moved to accommodate concerts and other events have gotten new cup holders that are – like the seats – retractable.
"They were built with cup holders that were too shallow and inoperable," says Feigin. "Not to have your cup holder be functional is one of those unacceptable things.
The new ones actually hold drinks!
"We took every vessel that we have and tested it," says Feigin, who says the Bucks worked to create their own version and teamed with a Wisconsin company to make them. "We’re not going to make the same mistake twice ... we hope."
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 OnMilwaukee.com 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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.