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.
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.