With a toast to celebrating an NBA championship in Milwaukee in the not-too-distant future, Bucks president Peter Feigin and Miller Brewing’s Jim Kanter drank from cans of Miller Lite and Coors Light, respectively, ceremonially consummating the announcement of their organizations’ founding partnership for the new arena.
The unsurprising agreement establishes Miller Brewing Company as the exclusive beer and malt beverage partner of the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center, continuing its 50-year partnership with the Bucks and expanding the long-term relationship of the two major local brands.
"The Bucks are proud that Miller Brewing Co., a fabric of our city, has become a founding partner of Milwaukee’s new dynamic arena," Feigin said. "We’re excited to further our relationship and activate our brands together in our new venue."
On the main concourse of the rapidly advancing arena, which he called "one of the most finished areas but still not finished yet," Feigin said Thursday he was "mesmerized by the progress" at the venue, set to open this fall. He pointed to the new Miller Brewing Co. bar as an example of how "customized" and "fan-centric" the arena will be, how the comprehensive partnership "reimagines" what the fan and group experience will be like at a basketball game.
"We’re so excited to get people, with their beers, really watching and feeling the game," Feigin said, adding that Miller would have an "unbelievably large presence in the new arena. Miller will be the beer of the Milwaukee Bucks."
According to the team, the partnership will include extensive Miller Brewing Co. branding and integration throughout the WESC – which has yet to secure a naming-rights sponsor and, with Thursday’s news, has officially crossed Miller off that list, if the brewing company was ever even interested or under consideration.
The most visible aspect of the partnership is Miller’s three bars in the arena – the Miller Brewing Co. location and a Leinenkugel’s bar on the main concourse, as well as a Coors Light bar on the upper concourse. Like the Field Level bars the Brewers introduced at Miller Park last year, all three spots at the WESC will feature direct sight lines into the arena bowl, providing views of the event and an area to socialize.
The upper concourse will also include the Coors Light Silver Bullet suite, which will be an exclusive space for limited events (60-guest capacity), part of the Bucks’ commitment to improving the VIP and group experience at the new arena.
Kanter, Miller Brewing Company's General Manager for Wisconsin, praised the energy level of the Bucks and the excitement the WESC has generated. He talked about Miller’s long tradition of investing in the state and locally, saying "we have an incredible working relationship with the Bucks and an incredible history of community involvement."
Miller also plans to bring innovative, arena-specific products to the WESC that will be featured at each of its bar locations.
"Miller Brewing has enjoyed an incredible partnership with the Milwaukee Bucks since they were founded 50 years ago," Kanter said. "Having such an extensive history with the franchise makes us even more proud to be named one of the founding sponsors of the new arena, and be part of the next exciting chapter for not only the team, but all of Milwaukee."
Besides serving as the exclusive beer and malt beverage company of the Bucks and WESC, Miller will continue to be the title sponsor of the Bucks Bar Network – a program developed for fans to watch games at featured bars across Wisconsin with drink specials – and the presenting sponsor for the Bucks Night Out ticket package.
Miller Brewing Co. joins BMO Harris Bank, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin and Johnson Controls as founding partners of the new arena.
In concluding their announcement Thursday, Kanter said he looked forward to having a beer with Feigin and the team "in the next few years" when the Bucks win an NBA title.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.