Alex Lasry, Milwaukee Bucks
vice president of strategy and operations, speaks at a lunch
meeting of the Waukesha County Business Alliance Young
Professionals group at the General Electric Healthcare
Institute Tuesday afternoon.
A new downtown Milwaukee arena has the potential to be more
than just the home for the Milwaukee Bucks - it has a chance
to enliven the entire city, in addition to the state and the
region, according to Alex Lasry.
vice president of strategy & operations and the son of Bucks
co-owner Marc Lasry spoke to young professionals about the
perceived benefits of a new arena and community involvement at a
Waukesha County Business Alliance luncheon at the General
Electric Healthcare Institute Tuesday afternoon.
Lasry said his
father and fellow co-owner Wesley Edens are intent on not only
bringing an NBA championship to Milwaukee, but revitalizing the
downtown area and making the city a vibrant place to be.
on the precipice,” Lasry said. “It either has the chance to be a
great city and a place where a lot of young people are going to
come and become the economic engine of not only Wisconsin, but
also surrounding areas in the Midwest. Or it could just be the
place where Marquette and UWM live.
right now can be a little bleak at times, and we hope an arena
can turn that around.”
Lasry said the
team’s two owners are also heavily invested in surrounding
developments for a new arena - which he called a “public good” -
to make the entire area a destination location.
White House deputy counselor for strategic engagement and
Goldman Sachs analyst said a new arena would be more than just
the Bucks’ home, but truly a multipurpose facility. |
Alex Lasry, Milwaukee Bucks vice president of
strategy and operations, speaks at a lunch meeting of the
Waukesha County Business Alliance Young Professionals group
at the General Electric Healthcare Institute Tuesday
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
Even with a
deep playoff run, the team would only use the arena
approximately 60 days each year. A new arena could help draw
more shows and concerts from headlining artists to Milwaukee,
whom Lasry said have passed on coming to the city in recent
with improved on-court performance, could help to bring people
back downtown, he said.
much lost a generation of fans in the last 10 to 15 years,” he
said. “If we lose that first generation, it starts seeping into
the younger kids because if their parents aren’t going to games,
the kids don’t want to go to Bucks games. We want the Bucks to
be a cool, fun place to be.”
Lasry said the
team could also move to a new logo and color scheme in the
“I think what
we really want is, at some point we want to put our stamp on
this team,” he said. “Whether it is next year, five years,
something is going to happen. At some point my dad and Wes are
going to say, now it is our time to put our stamp on it, our
vision into the brand.”
the arena has been a point of contention since the new owners
took over, as public officials statewide have said they will not
support raising taxes to pay for the facility, as was done in
the 1990s with Miller Park.
Marc Lasry and
Edens have already contributed $100 million to the project, as
has former owner and recently-retired U.S. Senator Herb Kohl.
The Bucks have until 2017 to begin construction on the arena, or
else the NBA can buy back and relocate the team.
An arena site
has not yet been selected, and until that happens, Lasry said,
it is difficult to discuss different funding options, adding
that ownership will not be asking the state for public funding.
believes the team is on track to have arena plans complete and
construction underway by the 2017 deadline.
figure out how to fund it if we don’t know how much it is going
to cost,” he said. “It has been a little bit of a slower process
than we had first anticipated, but it is a process nonetheless.
We are still, in our view, on schedule to be able to deliver an
arena in the time frame we are supposed to.”
Lasry said the
team wants to “humanize” the players and get all staff members
out doing community service in Milwaukee as well as its
Communications Associate Amy Burgdorff said since the new
ownership took over, the Bucks have made serious efforts about
engaging with Waukesha County to help build up the team’s local
“How they want
to engage with the community,” she said, “that is huge because
the market for the Bucks really hasn’t been as big in the past
and they really want to grow it back.”
players getting out and promoting wellness, financial literacy
and education, according to Lasry.
He said this
comes from an organizational effort to become more than just the
NBA team for Milwaukee, but a team and an area people can be
believe,” he said, “you are going to get people from Chicago or
Minneapolis coming here and saying, ‘Whoa, your arena and your
downtown is way nicer than our arena and downtown.’”