Why can’t Milwaukee baseball fans ever be happy for long? Almost immediately after we found out that the owners and players’ association came to an agreement, the Journal Sentinel dropped this bomb on us.
Must-read piece from @TomDaykin at the @journalsentinel on the Brewers quietly seeking $100M in public funding for future renovations at American Family Field, with a reported looming possibility that the team could leave Milwaukee at the end of its lease.https://t.co/x8RJRn0Dq2
— Dan Shafer (@DanRShafer) March 11, 2022
In order to read the article from the Journal, one must have a subscription. However, the basic gist of the story is as follows. The Milwaukee Brewers want $100 million of taxpayer funds in order to carry out necessary renovations on American Family Field. If the team does not get these funds, they could leave the city at the end of their lease. Their lease ends in 2030.
Will the Brewers Really Leave Milwaukee?
I know that the quick reaction to this news is to blame billionaire owners for wanting stadiums funded by public dollars. However, it is important to remember that the Milwaukee Brewers, and specifically Mark Attanasio, do not own American Family Field. It was, in fact, built with funding from the tax payers and is run by the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Ballpark District.
The fact of the matter is this: taxpayers are going to fund these improvements one way or another. However, in February of this year, team officials stated they wanted to avoid another five-county tax. This tax, of course, is what was used to fund the building of the stadium in the first place. However, it sounds like their tune has changed, as it appears taxes will be what is needed to make the necessary repairs.
Losing the Milwaukee Brewers would be a major blow to the city’s economy. The Brewers, for their part, could do more to generate revenue that could be put towards helping with renovations. This could include creating a “Beer District” along the same lines as the Bucks’ Deer District. It also could include various events and fundraisers that could take some of the burden off of the taxpayers of Wisconsin.
Finally, it is incredibly difficult to move a team. The Brewers have been in Milwaukee for over 50 years. They have eight years until the end of their lease. Chances are that they figure something out. However, it is something to keep an eye on.
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