My thoughts on the sale of the Milwaukee Bucks to two New York-based hedge fund billionaires, as best summed up by Randy Bryce.

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10 Responses to My thoughts on the sale of the Milwaukee Bucks

  1. Ed Heinzelman says:

    One of the articles I read stated that both Herb Kohl and the new buyers would throw in $100 million for a new arena…so they are about a third of the way there.

  2. AJ says:

    This state is giving Billionaires what they want in every new piece of legislation. At this point with the societal state of the current State of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee area, I cannot fathom public dollars going to build a new Arena.

  3. independent guy says:

    Senator Kohl got my vote. Didn’t always agree with some of his politics. But I don’t think anyone can question his loyalty and generosity to this state and doing what he felt was best for all in the long run. That includes a new stadium. 200 million dollars is a bit more than a show of good faith.

    • Sue says:

      I take your point IG, but since the purchasers are two hedge fund guys, I think the threats to leave will start sooner rather than later.

    • John Casper says:

      ig, especially since you volunteered information no one requested, I don’t believe you ever voted for Sen. Kohl.

      Every other NBA owner was determined to see that Kohl made a lot of money. None of them could afford to see the price of an NBA franchise drop. This is just an ultra exclusive neighborhood. All the owners know that their equity stake is tied to the value of the other owners.

      Like anything else, there are different gradations of hedge fund managers, some are worse than others. It’s certainly possible, that these two are among the least bad. This looks to me like a defensive move. You’ve got a sell a lot of tickets over an 82-game regular season to meet your payroll and then start to retire north of 1/2 a billion in debt.

      W/R/T $200 million, let me count the ways that may be closer to $2 million or zero. If it’s a billion dollar build (math’s easier), they can pay all the general contractors 1/5 up front and find ways for them to kick back the same amount. So, they’re costs are net zero, but they get massive publicity for kicking in $200 million in phony money. The other 4/5’s comes from the taxpayers, and that’s the real money that builds the project. When you get to the end of the project and you’re $200 million short, you go back to the taxpayers, because then you’ve got a half-finished building which is worse than one that’s falling down.

      Another riff is that all or part of the $200 million might be from the NBA owners. Per what I said above, they all have a vested interest in seeing the perceived value of their franchises headed north.

      Maybe someone with some urban planning experience can better explain this. It seems to me that Attanasio (Wall Street guy who owns the Brewers) and these two are desperate for high speed rail and much improved public transit. They want to package deals where folks from northern Illinois and Wisconsin can hop on wifi enabled high speed rail to Milwaukee. The deal includes local public transport (has to be very high end like a street car), that takes them to their 4 or 5 star hotel. They’ve got tickets (good seats, no nose-bleed section) to a Brewers/Bucks game, go visit Milwaukee Art Museum, ….

    • $200 million or more is a heck of a subsidy from taxpayers to a private business, which is what the Bucks are.

      That’s money that could certainly be better spent repairing some of SE Wisconsin’s crumbling infrastructure, including the Milwaukee County Parks System, which has millions of dollars of deferred maintenance.

  4. nonquixote says:

    I don’t follow professional sports anymore, did these guys buy the BMO Harris Bradley Center or just the Bucks franchise?

    Either way, with any threats from them, it is immediately time to say, “It’s been nice to almost get to know you, and then, good bye and good riddance.”

    • John Casper says:

      Just the franchise.

      If the Bucks leave, it will injure Marquette basketball, which would be another blow to Wisconsin. One of the few minor advantages that Marquette currently has in recruiting is that they play in an NBA venue.

      • Well, I’m betting that even if the Bucks leave Marquette could continue to play in the BC.

        • John Casper says:

          It’s a safe bet.

          Without the Bucks as a tenant (41 regular season games), Marquette (12-13 regular season games) probably becomes their anchor tenant. That’s going to dramatically increase the cost of Marquette’s lease, which means they’ll have to raise their ticket prices and the BC will still be getting a lot less revenue and in even steeper decline.

          That means even more top-of-the-line entertainment acts are less inclined to book a date in Milwaukee. They understand that appearing in a second-rate facility tarnishes their image. NCAA tournament already doesn’t appear to want BC for anything except first round games.

          I hope we can keep the Bucks, but the bright side is that it really reveals how badly Mike Grebe and the Bradley Foundation have managed the Bradley family’s legacy. While Mike was collaborating with the Koch brothers to fund Charlie Sykes, islamophobia, and denying climate change, his primary mission, the stewardship of the Bradley legacy was disintegrating. The Bradley Family name is now playing second fiddle on the building they built to a FRENCH bank. (Bank of Montreal).

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