MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has warned politicians to spend public money to fix up the park or else.
Let the bargaining begin in Madison, Wisconsin where state lawmakers are trying to figure out how to spend money to upgrade the Major League Baseball Milwaukee Brewers franchise’s home field. Wisconsin Republican legislators are willing to spend more than $614 million in public funding to fix up a ballpark that is 22 years old. But in this day and age, a 22-year-old ballpark is past its prime and a sports franchise owner cannot possibly live with an old facility without major upgrades. After all, people no longer necessarily go to a sports facility solely for a game. There are things like in-venue restaurants, upgraded concession stands, video displays, wifi and music that are musts in today’s presentation of a sports event.
Wisconsin would give the Brewers franchise ownership $60.8 million in the next fiscal year and up to $20 million each year after that through 2045-2046. The city of Milwaukee would contribute a total of $202 million and Milwaukee County would kick in $135 million by 2050. Brewers’ ownership would throw in about $100 million and extend its facility lease through 2050. Wisconsin Representative Robert Brooks claimed the majority of state funds would come from income taxes from Brewers’ players and employees, as well as from visiting players. “Our deal raises no taxes,” Brooks said. Earlier this year, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred rode into Milwaukee and let Milwaukee and Wisconsin politicians know who the boss is. It is Manfred and he wants to fix up the Milwaukee stadium or else. His blank assessment of the 22-year-old stadium is that the ballpark is not being maintained properly and will become a problem like Oakland. Oakland could be exiting MLB after 2024 because of an old, decrepit stadium.
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