The Milwaukee Bucks franchise was potentially up for relocation to a new city if the plans for a new arena fell through. However, the team and the state of Wisconsin have agreed upon a proposal for funding of a new arena in the city of Milwaukee.
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Bucks' New Arena Deal Passed by State Senate, State Assembly Approves
Tuesday, July 28
Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced the Assembly passed the Bucks arena plan:
By a 21-10 vote, the state Senate passed funding for the new Bucks arena two weeks prior, according to Mark Schaaf of the Journal Times. Bucks president Peter Feigin released a statement regarding the development after the Senate's approval, via NBA.com:
Today's vote is a significant step forward in our collective effort to build a new sports and entertainment district in Wisconsin. We appreciate the bipartisan leadership in Madison for bringing this transformative partnership one step closer to reality. We're optimistic that this financing package will receive support in the Assembly and look forward to working with state, county and city officials.
Bucks President Discusses Financial Details of New Stadium, Threatens Relocation
Monday, July 6
Bucks president Peter Feigin stated the public needs to pay $250 million sooner rather than later or risk losing the team to either Seattle or Las Vegas, per Mark Kass of the Milwaukee Business Journal:
The window is closing...We can't wait months, even weeks to start the public process. [...] The NBA does not want the Bucks to extend the lease in an inadequate facility. [...] This is about building a winner and building a brand and a product...It is similar to what the (Milwaukee) Brewers and (Green Bay) Packers have done.
Feigin provided his thoughts on the tricky situation at a hearing with the Wisconsin legislature's Joint Finance Committee.
Current Bucks owners Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan have combined with former owner Herb Kohl to pledge $250 million for the new arena and are seeking a match from the public. Of those funds, $93 million would come from the Wisconsin Center District in the form of new debt on Milwaukee citizens. The district wouldn't commence repaying the bonds until 13 years thereafter.
According to Feigin, the NBA only needs a $25 million profit to buy the Bucks and move them to one of the two aforementioned cities.
Las Vegas is an untapped market, while Seattle has been starving for basketball since the SuperSonics became the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Bucks have a promising young nucleus emerging under second-year coach Jason Kidd. They made a surprise playoff appearance this past season and have the Milwaukee area excited about the future.