The long wait and see news story of what will become of the Milwaukee Admirals under the umbrella of all the Milwaukee Bucks new arena discussions may finally reach a breakthrough tomorrow morning. The Wisconsin Center District board is set to discuss a lease for the Admirals to move into the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena for the 2016-17 season.
The Milwaukee Admirals’ likely move to a different venue could become official Wednesday.
The Wisconsin Center District board is scheduled to discuss a potential new Admirals lease at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
That discussion and possible vote to approve the lease are to occur at the board’s Wednesday meeting, according to an agenda issued Monday. The district operates the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, Wisconsin Center convention facility, Milwaukee Theatre and will own the future Milwaukee Bucks arena.
The Admirals now play at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, but plans for a new Bucks arena haven’t included the minor-league hockey team.
The Bucks will demolish the Bradley Center after the new arena is completed. That facility is to open by the start of the 2018-’19 National Basketball Association season.
Under the proposed lease, the Admirals would move to the Panther Arena starting in the 2016-’17 season. That season runs from October through April and includes 38 home dates — not counting possible postseason games.
This comes after a district official said in October that the Panther Arena could include a renovated locker room for the Admirals. That comment came during a discussion of the Wisconsin Center District’s 2016 budget.
Admirals Chief Executive Officer Harris Turer said in June that he did not believe the team would be part of the future Bucks arena.
Turer said then that he had started preliminary discussions with district officials about a possible lease at the Panther Arena, where the Admirals would share the facility with the UW-Milwaukee men’s basketball team and the Milwaukee Wave.
The Panther Arena, where the Admirals played for several years before the Bradley Center opened, does have ice-making machinery and is Milwaukee’s only “true alternative” for the team, Turer said.
As it stands, there truly hasn’t been much of any positive “breakthrough” level discussions as it pertains to the Admirals being part of the new Bucks arena. That has pretty much been the narrative all along. When you scratch that option off, and of course the BMO Harris Bradley Center off because it would be demolished once the new arena is introduced, there are only so many options for the Admirals to turn.
The UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena was the Admirals home until the introduction of the Bradley Center in 1988. It’s gone through different names over time: MECCA Arena, Wisconsin Center Arena, US Cellular Arena, and now goes by the title of the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. It currently hosts, as the name suggests, events associated with UW-Milwaukee as well as hosts the Milwaukee Wave, Brewcity Bruisers, and several other entertainment acts. Should the Admirals be approved the immediately become the highest profiled professional sports tenant of the building and that would be a partnership that should greatly benefit all parties involved at the arena.
Discussions I’ve had with various parties close to this situation have all come back by saying this phrase, “It has to be done the right way.” That encapsulates the full-scale of this massive project for the Admirals that goes above and beyond simply switching venues for next season. The organization would be installing renovated locker room facilities that would be on par with the current norm that the team experience at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Admirals President Jon Greenberg went to experience and talk with the Charlotte Checkers organization at the start of the season to get a sense for their recent move from the Time Warner Cable Arena to the Bojangles’ Coliseum which mirrors what would take place should the team switch back to the old barn. There is far more than a simple changing of home address at work for the Admirals when it comes to this move and the focus of the operation is being handled with surgical-like precision in the background to this 2015-16 season. As they’ve all said. If this move is to be done it has to be done the right way.
What are your reactions to a potential move across the street to the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena? What do you feel is needed, upgrade-wise or fan experience-wise, that must be addressed by the Milwaukee Admirals should they officially make the move to the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena?
Be sure to keep updated with Admirals Roundtable through social media platform of your choice: follow along Twitter, like us on Facebook, get photo updates on Instagram, and listen along on SoundCloud.