Brewers’ stadium repair deal sealed


Governor signs off Brewers stadium funding Image: Miller Park, Weltraum pirat, CC BY-SA 3.0 de

A bill giving the Milwaukee Brewers half a billion dollars in taxpayer cash to repair their American Family Field ballpark over the next three decades has been signed into law.

AP News said Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed the bipartisan package at American Family Field, calling the legislation a compromise agreement between the team and the public.

The 41,900-capacity ballpark is a retractable roof stadium in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Located Southwest of the intersection of Interstate 94 and Brewers Boulevard, it opened in 2001 as a replacement for the Milwaukee County Stadium.

The Brewers say that 22-year-old American Family Field now needs extensive repairs.

The stadium’s glass outfield doors, seats and concourses need replacing, the stadium’s luxury suites and video scoreboard need upgrades and the stadium’s signature retractable roof, fire suppression systems, parking lots, elevators and escalators need work, according to the team.

Opponents to handing over the cash say the team has more than enough money to fund the renovations.

At a legislation signing ceremony, Evers said, “All in all, this plan ensures the Milwaukee Brewers will continue to call this city home for nearly 30 more years.”

The Brewers’ principal owner, Mark Attanasio and former Major League Baseball commissioner and former Brewers owner Bud Selig appeared alongside Evers.

Attanasio called the signing “a special day” as he thanked legislators, Brewers employees and the public for helping him deliver what he called the best fan experience possible at the stadium.

AP further stated that Brewers officials had warned lawmakers the team might leave Milwaukee without public assistance. Spurred by the threat of losing tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue, legislators unveiled a subsidy package in September.

The package went through multiple revisions as lawmakers worked to find ways to reduce the public subsidy. The bill Evers finally signed calls for a state contribution of $365.8 million doled out in annual payments through 2050. The city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County will contribute a combined $135 million.

The legislation also imposes surcharges on tickets to non-baseball events at the stadium such as rock concerts or monster truck rallies. The surcharges are expected to generate $20.7 million.

The Brewers, for their part, will spend $110 million and extend their lease at the stadium through 2050, keeping Major League Baseball in its smallest market for another 27 years.

Milwaukee was without a Major League Baseball team after the Braves left until 1970, when the Seattle Pilots relocated to the city and became the Brewers.

“We never considered going anywhere else,” Attanasio said. “We always wanted to be here.”

The stadium opened in 2001 as Miller Park and replaced aging County Stadium. Construction cost about $392 million and was funded largely through a 0.1% sales tax imposed in Milwaukee County and the four other counties that surround the stadium.

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