Taking a page from David Stern’s “Guide To Extorting Cities For State-of-the-Art Arenas”, future NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is wasting no time setting up his first hostage situation. According to BizJournals.com, Silver recently met with sponsors to discuss changes that need to be made in Milwaukee, where the BMO Harris Bradley Center (formerly Kohl Center) sits as the league’s oldest, and most ill-equipped, arena:
“One obvious issue we all have to deal with is we need a new arena in Milwaukee,” said Adam Silver, deputy National Basketball Association commissioner, speaking of the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
“At the end of the day compared to other modern arenas in the league, this arena is a few hundred thousand square feet too small,” Silver said. “It doesn’t have the sort of back-of-house space you need, doesn’t have the kinds of amenities we need.”
“It doesn’t have the right sort of upper bowl/lower bowl (seating) configuration for the teams frankly that Milwaukee wants to compete against,” he said.
We know how this one goes: the commissioner drops a random comment about how a city needs a new arena. The league then sits on it for awhile, while the story goes largely unnoticed. Then, the league starts tossing the “S”-word around (Seattle), thus putting the current NBA city on an arbitrary clock to get their act together.
The one wrinkle here is that the Bucks’ aging current owner, Herb Kohl, isn’t an arrogant, sellout douchenozzle — a requirement for these things to work out the way the NBA wants — like Howard Schultz or the Maloof siblings, and desires to keep the team in Milwaukee. Unfortunately, Milwaukee isn’t too enthusiastic about their team these days, and haven’t been for awhile (have you seen the stands when the Bulls play road games there?). Thus, nobody is too keen on approving public funds for a new arena.
Regardless of how this all plays out, get ready for another round of torturing two fan bases: one that has a team, and one that desperately wants one.