The NBA and Adam Silver bullied Milwaukee and Wisconsin to build an arena.
The next time stadium or arena building backers yell out how putting up a new stadium or a new arena creates jobs, someone should bring up the Milwaukee experience. The operators of the soon to be closed Milwaukee arena that among other tenants houses the NBA Bucks informed the Wisconsin Department of Workforce that they are laying off the 651 people who have full time, part time and per diem jobs at the place as the building is closing because a new arena is opening nearby. The new arena was needed because the NBA said they needed a new building. The cost of the new arena is estimated to be about $525 million with $200 million coming from Bucks previous and present owners. The rest from the public. The NBA put the pressure on Wisconsin elected officials in the do as we say and build a new venue or we are going to buy the Bucks franchise and then sell it to a community that would appreciate the team or more appropriately a community who would ante up and build a state of the art NBA style arena for a team.
The Bucks ownership wants to use the arena to sell Milwaukee. It is an old approach and a failed public policy. The economic generator is not starting a new arena will use fewer workers than the old building. There were just 45 full time employees at the old place and 606 part time positions. Those workers jobs will start disappearing on August 10 and only eight employees will remain after August 31 to close out the building. None of the former employees may get jobs at the new facility. But Wisconsin taxpayers are putting up money for a building featuring high end entertainment and a promise of economic development that might never materialize.