Dan Kapanke, co-owner of the La Crosse Loggers, and Adam Hoffer, Tax Foundation director, joined to talk about the Milwaukee Brewers stadium funding situation.
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The Brewers, which lease the stadium essentially from the state, and the Wisconsin Legislature are negotiating stadium upgrades that are hovering between $290-$400 million.
Kapanke is part of a coalition of business owners promoting keeping the Brewers in Milwaukee, while Hoffer taught sports business at UW-La Crosse for a decade.
We discuss whether this debate is political between the Legislature and governor, if tax money to renovate the stadium is good economically — or should we let the rich owners renovate the stadium? — and how the Loggers and the city of La Crosse have worked out a similar deal.
The Brewers are spending over $500,000 lobbying the Legislature to get a deal down, so we dissect what that might look like. The MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred, has also put his two cents in the conversation, more or less threatening a deal get done of the team will leave.
I did throw a few half-baked ideas at Kapanke and Hoffer, including selling the stadium to the Brewers for $1 and building a new stadium altogether because of its awkward current location and the price tag to renovate.
Wisconsin continues to sit on $4 billion in budget surplus going on 19 months. With that, one more half-baked idea I threw out there was how — with that surplus — the state missed out on buying the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks went through a similar fight back in 2015 to fund a new arena and won, but their situation is a bit different because the team owns the arena. The team just sold to the Cleveland Browns owners, who bought a 25% majority stake in the team, valued now at $3.5 billion.