New Bucks Arena Will Now Include An Ice Rink

The New Bucks Arena – with Hockey-less Hockey Rink Karate Chop Action!

According to Rich Kirchen of the Milwaukee Business Journal the Milwaukee Bucks new arena will feature an ice rink that meets NHL and NCAA specifications. This news comes less than two days after the Milwaukee Admirals played in what possibly could have been their last game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center where the two organizations are tenants.

There is much said in the article produced today by Kirchen. So let’s plunge into some snippets:

Despite the plans for a hockey rink at the new arena, a Bucks spokesman says the owners aren’t seeking an NHL team.

“There are no plans for the NHL,” Bucks spokesman Jake Suski said.

Rather, the Bucks owners are looking to host events such as the NCAA hockey tournament and its Frozen Four men’s championship or an NHL exhibition game at the new arena, Suski said.

“The arena includes facilities and equipment for ice-related events so that the venue has the flexibility to attract all kinds of world-class entertainment,” Suski said.

Something about the timing of this announcement rubs me the wrong way. The Bucks offered zero communication with the Admirals in regards to their participation in the new arena. That forced the Admirals to look after their own best interests, which they did, and they were approved by the Wisconsin Center District for a ten-year lease with a mutual option for five more years. The Admirals host the opening two games of their opening round series in the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs, they lose both, are on the brink of elimination, and could have possibly played their last game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center with the loss on Saturday night. Out of nowhere the Bucks get to talking about their new venue being able to host hockey events? There is something highly questionable to that considering how little they viewed the Admirals in their plans. To announce it shortly after the Admirals potential last game at the Bradley Center comes across like a parting shot.

The Admirals and the Bucks relationship, at least on the surface level, seems fine. When you start to scratch below that a little bit to find out things in connection to where the money from Admirals games at the Bradley Center mostly goes to you can get a sense of tension. The Bucks pocket the majority of merchandise revenue from the Admirals merchandise at the Bradley Center. The Admirals leaving the Bucks, after being given the silent treatment during new arena talks, has allowed for them to rediscover a playing venue that was once called home ice where they can once again call it their building. They will be seeing new revenue streams that they never really were able to tap into because of the functionality of the Bucks business practices at the Bradley Center. The Admirals will be getting merchandise and concession revenue at the UW-Milwaukee Panthers Arena. The Bucks will now be losing all that the Admirals provided them that they leached off of for years upon years. In what could be their final act of partnership, as the Admirals bow out, the Bucks immediately welcome the work week with news that they never before cared to share months ago: there will be a hockey rink.

Is this to say it makes any sort of a competitive business act by the Bucks against the Admirals? No. Even if there were exhibition games held at the new arena, something that happened with the Bradley Center first opened, they would be just that – exhibition games. If they’re smart, in terms of marketing, they would seek the Nashville Predators, the parent club of the Admirals, to take part in any of those exhibition games to try and lure their local fan base in. NCAA Frozen Four? That would be a bit more head-to-head with the Admirals for a brief span of time in April but I’d imagine, barring the Wisconsin Badgers hockey program making a major turn-around in the next few years, the bulk of attendance would be travelling college fan bases from the participating schools.

What this news is was a “look at us” from the Bucks while the Admirals news cycle is going for once with the possibility of final games at the Bradley Center in-play. It could have been announced far in advance. It could have been communicated to the Admirals when inquiries were made of any possible participation at the new arena. It could have even been brought up in the dead of summer when neither team had anything happening. Instead, this news comes a little shy of forty-eight hours from what might have been the last opening puck drop of Admirals hockey at the Bradley Center. It’s a parting shot. It’s a sour attempt to step in front of the Admirals, who were the last professional team playing in the building this spring, to take the spotlight. Timing is everything. The timing of this news is coincidental at best and intentional at worst.

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6 thoughts on “New Bucks Arena Will Now Include An Ice Rink”

  1. As much as I don’t like the Bucks, I think the only reason this came out is because the Milwaukee Business Journal submitted an open records request. The Business Journal got it, read about it and then asked the Bucks about it. They really had no option but to respond.

  2. There is not enough money in this market to support the Bucks, let alone an NHL Team, and the Buck’s . This really makes me wonder if these guy’s have souls. However the Admirals would bring in revenue 38 times a year. Plus two flat playoff games.

    I suppose a contract is only as solid as the parties. So the Admirals could be let out of this one. However what kind of deal would they get. The Admirals are kind of behind the eight ball here in the UWM Arena. Once the new Arena is open, lots of dollars are going to go to the Bucks, just to visit a new Arena.

    The Admirals have worked so hard to built an audience, since Harris bought the team. Going to the UWM Arena was a step back. Not to mention a heartless act by these owners who have been given everything, by the state, and city.

    No NHL and NBA team have survived together in this small of a market. So maybe the city, and these owners ought to make something happen for the Admirals. The Admirals Attendance is probably equal to Marquette’s for a season.

    With the end goal being selling a bottle of water for $6, and $8 20% soda’s bottles. Get the Admirals into the new Arena .

  3. Good for them. We have moved on and so should they. We’ve been living large in an arena that isn’t supposed to be the norm in the ahl. The Wolves have a larger one because of market and really no other place to play plus they fill it cause they have more people to pull from. We are getting a great facility and ability to have more revenue streams we never got under Lord Bango. Let em host a frozen four or a exhibition NHL game I’m still not going. I will never get behind the bucks or NBA for that matter I used to but it’s so lousy now I just can’t care at all. If we lose this series it will be a swift can in the shorts as we leave the BC. Wonder where the garage sale will be? Betcha the U! #RockTheU

  4. Thanks for the middle finger, Bucks. Too bad we don’t seem prepared to return the gesture by raising the Calder Cup in the U and not the BC.
    Looking forward to not playing second fiddle to (at best) a NBA D league team. Wishing the Bucks many more loosing seasons before the NBA buys out the lease and moves them anyway.

  5. The Frozen Four would be huge again for Milwaukee as everyone has sold out the Bradley Center. While I’ve said I’m skyhigh to have the Admirals in UWM Panther Arena, they could never afford rent at the new arena. Rent would be 200k to 300k. Keep in mind Marquette doesn’t get food or merchandise money from the Bradley Center as well. Another point, just like Harris Turer said, it was said by the Bucks for months that they want to host a Frozen Four.

  6. @frontrowjon: The Wolves play in a large arena thanks to the Chicago Cougars. They were the WHA team that was going to play in that 16,700 seat for hockey arena. I have saw a game there in the Wolves first season. The seats rise too little between rows so you have somebodies head in front of you and you can’t see the two near corners. I sat 2 rows behind the Admirals bench. The ventilation is also poor. When they shot off the pregame fireworks, I couldn’t see the far goal. It took 10 minutes of game time for the air to clear. That arena is a dung heap!

    For the record, the Wolves were 8th in AHL average attendance this season with 7963. That is less than half full on average. Hershey was #1 with 9790 a game. Grand Rapids was 5th with 8543. Lehigh Valley was 7th with 8244. Those three cities have no where as much to see and do as Milwaukee has. They have no NBA or MLB and aren’t NFL hometowns like Milwaukee.

    @MUPANTHER: I went to two of the NCAA Frozen Fours at the BC: One time, none of the games were sold out. I had 2 extra tickets and couldn’t even give them away to people. There must have been 1000 empty seats or more at all of the games that year.

    I doubt that I will set foot in the new arena unless I get free tickets to something other than the Bucks. There is a Bucks fan at work. He was recently speaking at lunch about how good the team is. I pointed out that the Bucks season is over and that the Admirals were in the AHL playoffs for the 13th time in 15 years. You could hear crickets chirping. Bucks fans are delusional. So are their new owners. This move just shows how they disrespect the Admirals and Milwaukee in general.

    Going to the UWM Panthers Arena will allow for more team revenue and Saturday night games. Don’t be surprised if the Admirals outdraw the Bucks for some games. It happened the last time I went to see the Bucks. They had 7500 against Philly on a Tuesday. The previous Saturday, the Admirals drew 9500. The “new” arena is a good size for the Admirals and their fans.

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