Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl announced today that he’s considering “broadening the ownership of the Bucks as a way to strengthen the franchise and keep it in Milwaukee.”
We’ve grabbed a relevant section, but you can Kohl’s entire press release posted by our friends over at Urban Milwaukee.
When I bought the Milwaukee Bucks back in 1985, it was for one reason—to keep the team here. To this day, that remains a top priority. We are proud to be an NBA city. We are very grateful to our fans and business partners who support us. I am especially proud of the extraordinary people in the Bucks organization who work tirelessly to deliver a good product and great entertainment. The best players in the world perform in our city every year, spreading the names of Milwaukee and Wisconsin around the country and, indeed, around the world.
Over the next several months I will be considering broadening the ownership of the Bucks as a way to strengthen the franchise and keep it in Milwaukee.
In an interview with Charles F. Gardner of the Journal-Sentinel, Kohl said “adding to ownership provides more strength, more stability” and “more certainty.”
Kohl purchased the Milwaukee Bucks from Jim Fitzgerald in 1985, which ensured the Bucks future in Milwaukee. Reports were that Kohl was very close to selling the team in 2003 to a group led by Michael Jordan, but he ultimately decided not to sell.
Kohl retired from the United States senate in 2013 after representing Wisconsin for 24 years. He’s been active in discussing the need for a new arena in Milwaukee and has pledged to commit “significant” funds toward its completion. Incoming NBA commissioner Adam Silver visited Milwaukee in September and discussed the need for a new arena if professional basketball is going to be long for Milwaukee.
Assuming that he can find investors that meet his requirements, the move should only serve to stabilize the team’s future. As each surrounding county takes a stand against a publicly-financed arena, it has become more and more clear that hammering out an arena deal may require more funds that Kohl himself is willing and/or able to produce. Adding investors now makes the path to an arena slightly less treacherous, while providing a transition to a post-Kohl ownership situation.