The quick life of an NBA arena

Milwaukee is about to have another stadium controversy. This time it’s about its basketball arena.

The Bradley Center is only 24 years old, but in an editorial today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says it’s “outdated by NBA standards.” It says the team needs a way to make money when the NBA team isn’t playing, mainly through shops and concerts.

Following the script of these sorts of things, the paper suggested if Milwaukee doesn’t build a new arena, the team will leave:

For those who don’t think the Bucks could leave, consider a story that appeared in The Seattle Times last month. The story listed the Bucks as one of five teams that would be a good fit for Seattle. Seattle lost its team to Oklahoma City in 2008, after unsuccessful efforts to persuade Washington state government officials to provide funding to update KeyArena.

The Seattle Times put the odds of the Bucks moving in the next five years at 10-1.

Paul Swangard, managing director at the University of Oregon’s Sports Marketing Center, said the Bucks would be intriguing for any city looking for an NBA franchise because the team has an aging owner in Herb Kohl and it lacks a sizable increase in local support.

“It has the characteristics one would look for in saying that’s a team ripe for ownership change and quite possibly location change,” Swangard said in an interview with The Seattle Times.

Curiously, what the newspaper left out of its editorial is that Sen. Herb Kohl, who owns the team, says he will not sell it to anyone who wants to relocate it. That part was also in the Seattle newspaper article, which is the only piece of evidence that has Milwaukee sports fans in a sudden panic.

For the record, Minnesota basketball fans can sit tight, even though Target Center is only 2 years younger than its Milwaukee cousin, the team is bad, and there doesn’t seem to be any appetite for spending $100 million or so to upgrade it. Minnesota ranks 14th in NBA attendance this year — far ahead of any teams mentioned as likely candidates to move.

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