Admirals Move to the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena to be Decided Tomorrow

(Photo Credit: Rich Kirchen)

(Photo Credit: Rich Kirchen)

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.

Report by Tom Daykin of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

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.

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23 Responses to Admirals Move to the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena to be Decided Tomorrow

  1. Steve C says:

    I think Admirals fans are “spoiled” in that we’re an AHL club playing in an NHL caliber arena. I initially didn’t like the idea of moving across the street because I’ve been so used to the NHL caliber offerings we get at the BC. In reality, the move makes complete sense. The Admirals probably profit more – assuming they will get more revenue from in-arena sales [merchandise, concessions, etc.]. The only downside I can think of would be a possible loss of concert revenue? The last time I was in the Panther arena was for a concert in 2000 I believe. I don’t know if anything has changed in the seating bowl. Can they support a concert stage still? If so, it could create a demand for any concerts they bring in as number of tickets would be much more limited versus the BC.

    Either way, I am now personally hoping this goes through. I have assumed this was going to happen for a couple of weeks now since we season ticket holders have not received renewals for next year’s season tickets yet. In the past we’ve already been given those renewals by now.

  2. Fan in the Falls says:

    It’s been such a long time since I’ve been in the old Arena I don’t even remember what it’s like anymore. I looked it up online and it does seem there have been quite a number of improvements made. I’m fine with the move. I think it’s been a foregone conclusion for quite some time. Steve is definitely, right, though, that many Ads games attendees will be hit with the ‘wow, we really did have it good at the BC’ factor.

    I wouldn’t doubt that to the players, though, it will be cool to play in a building that seems much fuller, even if the attendance is the same. As a fan, I just hope the upgraded seats are comfortable.

    From what I can tell of looking at pics of the arena (, there isn’t room for a concert stage and an ice rink. They’d have to figure out how to set up a stage really fast on the ice after a game was over. Also, I think they are going to have do much better with concessions. I have no doubts this is all being worked out.

  3. frontrowjon says:

    Super thrilled! This move will benefit the Ads game in many ways: better date selection more revenue from merchandise and concessions. The more intimate setting at the “U” will bring a loud feel to week night games. I will greatly miss the absolute gift the Petits gave this city. The BC has been and still is an amazing facility that is underappreciated. I’m gonna enjoy the hell outta the final games there hopefully this team can add another cup before leaving it.

  4. Pete says:

    FitF….what do you have against RC Cola and Sun Drop?

    I was in the Panther Arena this last weekend and it hit me that this is where they’ll end up and I got a frowny face. It’ll be fine on Tuesday nights in February when a 3,000 person crowd fills it halfway up (or 1/3 of the way up) but damn i’m going to miss those nights where the arena was buzzing with 12-13,000 on a concert night. Even if the majority of the fans there that night weren’t there to see hockey first…..the buzz made the building loud and fun.

    But when you don’t have a choice, you don’t have a choice. They’ll try to rebrand it like the Checkers did going back to their old barn, but this move sucks, every single part of it.

  5. Fan in the Falls says:

    Not having to deal with the f*&%#@! Bucks anymore doesn’t suck.

  6. Peter says:

    Agree with Pete. This move does suck. There’s no way you can put a positive spin on this. It’s a downgrade through and through.

    And I think you can say goodbye to concert nights as well. Even if they could fit a stage behind the rink, what artist/band worth anything is going to want to play in an almost 70 year old arena that can’t even seat 10,000?

    Bucks suck.

  7. Fan in the Falls says:

    One other positive note, the ticket prices shouldn’t skyrocket. I have no idea what the Ads ownership group will decide to do with ticket prices, but I can guarantee you if they did move into the new Bucks arena ticket prices would have increased significantly.

  8. Steve C says:

    I assume that once this is official, the team will do some sort of party and seat selection thing for season ticket holders? All I know is I’ll be pissed if I’m not able to keep seats in the same general area/location I sit in at the BC.

  9. Pete says:

    the key to this whole thing is fuck the bucks. Fuck the bucks for not even including the Admirals in the conversation. The gift of the BC was by a hockey family, for a hockey team, then the bucks pushed the admirals around like bullies. Oh, you want to buy an admirals shirt from the pro shop, we’ll take 10% of that. You can play on these nights? Give us half your revenue. The Admirals did nothing but take in the ass from the bucks without the common courtesy of a reacharound.

  10. Peter says:

    And if this is the end of the Admirals in the Bradley Center, I want it to go out in style. Tell everybody, friends neighbors, random people on the street to head to the games. I’m not expecting much for the Tuesday games but starting Friday, just rock that place. Sell out the last regular season game there. Get 10,000+ for the playoffs, just support this team and send that great building out with the glory it deserves.

  11. Cheesehead says:

    I Agree with FITF, I for one don’t need a major increase in my season tix to support more rich people, that don’t want us anyway. Have fun Buck fans, save your dough your gonna need it to watch, pay to park, and less we forget the 9 oz 10 dollar beer. cheers

  12. Fan in the Falls says:

    Steve, considering how great Harris & Co. have been in general with season ticket holders, I’m pretty sure they’ll do something to help those people out as much as possible with getting tickets in relatively the same location. Really, if you think about it, it’s basically like just keeping the lower bowl of the BC, or maybe 3/4 of it. There aren’t really people in the upper level seats most games anyway, so I don’t anticipate an issue keeping seats in the same general area.

  13. Fan in the Falls says:

    Pete, the other thing to remember is the Petit family gave the money to very specifically try and get an **NHL** team in Milwaukee. It wasn’t for the Admirals, who already existed. Had it happened, the Ads almost certainly would have disappeared. It didn’t take long, though, for reality to set in that Milwaukee was not going to get an NHL team.

    Don’t think this for a second means I think the Bucks ownership group should have treated the Ads ownership the way they have (especially considering they aren’t even paying for the new building – bastards), but the BC wasn’t supposed to be for the Ads either.

  14. Fan in the Falls says:

    I know, I know, they are paying a part, but you know what I mean.

  15. While I’m loving the different opinions and expressions, because they show all the takes for or against the move, can we do it in a way without profanity please? I don’t like playing the website moderating role often but there’s ideas you are both expressing, valid ones, that can be discussed without stooping to vulgarity. *waves*

  16. sanford943 says:

    If the Petits gave the money for the arena to attract an NHL team, how did the Bucks gain such an advantage as far as dates, getting part of the Admiral revenues etc. Did the ads get anything from the suites? Seem like they will lose money there with the move. I am guessing there were concerts at the Panthers arena in the past so holding post game concerts shouldn’t be a problem. How many seats are in the lower bowl. I have been to a couple of games this year with post game concerts and the upper levels were not the full. I think the one con with the BMO is that the seating was not the best. There is very little room between the seats. I haven’t been in the arena in ages so I don’t remember what the seating is like.

  17. MUPANTHER says:

    As a UWM season ticket holder & Marquette season ticket holder, I’m in both building 35 times out if the year. I love the Arena!

  18. Steve C says:

    The Bucks got a majority of dates because they brought in the money to the BC…

  19. MUPANTHER says:

    First time I’ve post so I want to add more. In October it was a big day for ice at Panther Arena as NBC was in town for US Skate America. Was cold in the building. Ice holds up. Looks great. With the NBC booth and the Kiss and Cry area, can’t see why the concerts would not continue at UWM Panther Arena.

    For the past two years during the summer, the arena replaced the 200 level seats and 300 level seats. This summer the rest will be replaced. They look shape and are comfy. The 1.1 million dollar jumbrotron is great. Major arena’s don’t have that. New side videoboards. New HD TV’S in the hallways. Bathrooms are fine. Hot water, unlike the Bradley Center. Ticket booth, doors all have new paint jobs. New beer machines. Beer is cold! Easy to get outside to smoke. WCD is building a new kitchen. Harris Turner wants better food at the arena!

    I’ve been to one Admirals game in my life and that was 22 years ago. I will be going to an Admirals game because I love the fan experience at UWM Panther Arena. I go to Roller Derby at the Arena as well. Can you imagine what a sold out crowd 9,652 for hockey will sound like? The players will love it! Even a rare Tuesday night game of 3,000 will be sweet!

  20. smoothjazz858 says:

    all that matters admirals will be here long term it will be better for the admirals money wise

  21. Gail says:

    I can’t wait to return to the “Cell”, the “MECCA” or the now UWM Panther Arena. I call it by all names since those were the names I’ve known it by.
    Since everyone is calling the new arena the “Bucks” arena, why should other teams play there. It will be built for the Bucks and nothing else. I’m glad the Admirals aren’t playing there. They will be saving people money by playing at the arena. And the Bucks will not be getting any more profits from the Admirals.
    I’d also know why the Bucks have say on what happens to the Bradley Center? They decide to tear it down? How does that happen? I wish them well in their new arena,

  22. MUPanther says:

    It won’t be called Bucks Arena, Gail. There will be someone who pays for the naming rights. Marquette men’s basketball will be playing there as well.

    The state runs the Bradley Center, not the Bucks, so the state of Wisconsin wants the Bradley Center torn down. Not any later than 6 months after the new arena opens up.

  23. MUPanther says:

    Admirals sign 10-year lease at Panther Arena; $6.3 million in upgrades in works

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