MILWAUKEE — Following months of debate and years of consideration, Wisconsin’s Republican leaders gathered at American Family Field on Monday morning to unveil their $700 million proposal to keep the Milwaukee Brewers in Wisconsin through 2050.
Robin Vos (R – Rochester), Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, was joined by Rep. Robert Brooks (R – Saukville) and Sen. Dan Feyen (R – Fond du Lac) to dissect their proposal — an effort that leaders say extended across both sides of the aisle, throughout the state, county and city levels while staying in consistent communication with the Brewers organization.
“[It’s] good for the taxpayers, it’s good for the state and it’s good for the team,” Vos stated. “Those are the three things that we really focused on; is making sure we have something that everybody can look at and realize it’s a win for Wisconsin.”
As part of the agreement, the Brewers organization itself agreed to invest $100 million. Furthermore, this proposal won’t include any additional funding from the average Wisconsin taxpayer, instead using tax money from players’ salaries to generate funding while also pulling investments at the City and County levels.
“Our annual investment from the state is tied directly to a portion of player personnel, both the home team and the visiting team,” Rep. Brooks said. “If you don’t play second base for the Brewers, or the Cubs, or the Yankees, your income taxes are not going to this deal.”
Republican leaders stated that the original deal, and the alternative presented by Gov. Evers’ office earlier this year, wouldn’t be enough to keep the team in Milwaukee past 2030. While there have not been direct conversations between Gov. Evers and these Republican leaders, Rep. Brooks says the core concepts of this proposal have been shared with the City, County, State and Brewers themselves.
“It’ll go through the normal process. I anticipate some amendments, some changes, but I think we’ve got it to a really good spot,” Rep. Brooks expressed. “I think the Brewers will be releasing a statement, if they haven’t already, endorsing this package.”
Vos also expressed that this “ironclad” deal is sure to keep the Brewers at American Family Field through 2050.
The Brewers’ home could be converted for year-round use.
One of the core concepts of this proposal is to make American Family Field more accessible through the entirety of the year — not just during baseball season. According to Rep. Brooks, that means “winterizing” the ballpark so that other indoor events like concerts and major traveling acts can stop at American Family Field.
There is no expectation that the temperature control aspect of this proposal will include air conditioning — only heating.
“Currently, there’s about $225 million dollars worth of sales directly attributed to the facility now, so this would be a year-round facility that could maintain a 70-degree temperature, even when it’s 10-below outside,” Rep. Brooks said.
In part, this aspect of the deal is geared toward other parts of the state where community members are concerned about their tax dollars going to something they won’t benefit from. However, Rep. Brooks explained that these expanded operations will trickle back down to other sections of the state through the 1% shared revenue deal, eventually spreading tax dollars from AmFam Field operations across Wisconsin.
“We’re only going to use about two-thirds of the income tax on an annual basis, so every community in the state of Wisconsin benefits from keeping the Brewers,” Rep. Brooks said. “Again, it’s cheaper to keep them.”
Additionally, this proposed agreement would ensure that the Stadium Board is re-envisioned so that it includes people with a “viable interest and knowledge of how to operate a stadium,” per Rep. Brooks.
We’re still far from final approval with the bill expected to run through the Legislature before eventually making its way to Gov. Evers’ desk.
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