Stadiums and the Reality of Image

Bradley Center

Yesterday, soon-to-be NBA Commissioner Adam Silver declared the Bradley Center “unfit” for the NBA. Such a declaration is usually the first salvo in shaking down the public purse for private stadiums. The best social defense that Silver could muster for any new stadium in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is that it makes Milwaukee look cool. No really, that’s what his argument boiled down to:

As evidenced by those other cities’ interest in attracting an NBA team, the league retains its prestige, Silver said.

Being an NBA town “signifies a certain stature for a city in this day and age,” he said. “It signifies a major league image.”

Basically, Adam Silver is trying to sell Milwaukee on building a new stadium by invoking Patti LaBelle.

Tired of a poverty rate hovering around 30%, Milwaukee? Build a new stadium, it’ll make you feel good!
Exhausted of a public school system crumbling? A new stadium will cure that festering sore!
Tired of a depressing reality? Subsume yourself in an image of being big league!

Just don’t expect your suburban neighbors to help you in the task.

YORKVILLE — Racine County supervisors stirred up attention last week as board members unanimously voiced their opposition to any regional tax related to a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Following the resolution, local legislators have made their feelings known, and other county boards are making moves of their own; all this before an arena tax has even been proposed.

Much idiotic rhetoric is dispensed on how the poor purposely abuse and freeload on welfare programs, but affluent suburbs freeloading on the amenities and purse of the urban core is often overlooked. The good folks of suburban Racine County have clearly made it understood that they don’t want to pay a penny for any infrastructure in downtown Milwaukee.

If the past is any indication, these folks will happily use any downtown Milwaukee stadium for their own amusement. The following are just some of the instances of suburban freeloading at the Bradley Center:

That’s just what I found using Google for 30 minutes. Imagine if I had access to the Bucks’ ticket office and could see where their season ticket holders happen to come from. And this is just NBA related uses of the Bradley Center. Concerts and other events surely draw the folks of Racine into Milwaukee for stadium fun.

But they’ll be damned if they have to pay a red cent for the actual construction of any entertainment venue in a nearby city they frequently use. They don’t have that kind of money.

Per Capita Income of Wisconsin cities/counties that have used Bradley Center:
Brookfield (city): $37,292
Waukesha County: $36,752
Pewaukee (city): $34,851
Dane County: $32,392
Wisconsin State Avg: $26,624
Racine County: $26,321
Milwaukee County: $23,740
Madison (city): $23,498
Racine (city): $17,705
Milwaukee (city): $16,181

What’s truly unfit in Milwaukee isn’t some 25-year old play pen of corporate suites. It’s this sobering fact: “The average age of a [Milwaukee school] district building is 66 years old. Consultants have estimated it will take $1 billion worth of infrastructure work to get the buildings up to proper standards over the next 10 years.”

Yeah, I think Milwaukee has more important things to worry about than having a “major league” image. The reality for some of its suburban freeloaders is pretty sweet, though. Maybe Adam Silver should go looking to them for a stadium fit for the NBA.

For more visit BrewHoop which helped with some important links to this little ol’ story.

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