The Wisconsin state legislature passed a bill Tuesday approving the renovation of Milwaukee’s American Family Field stadium, as Jessie Opoien of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Although the bill must still be approved by Governor Tony Evers to be officially passed, he has already announced his intention to approve it.
Under the financing plan, the state agrees to pay just under $366 million to support stadium upgrades through 2050. Milwaukee County and the city of Milwaukee will each contribute $67.5 million dollars. The Brewers are expected to pay about $150 million, with about $100 million in rent and about $50 million dedicated to discretionary improvements. In total, public funding amounts to just over half a billion dollars over 26 years.
Once signed into law by the governor, the plan will end all questions regarding the Brewers’ future in Milwaukee. The team’s lease at American Family Field, which was set to expire after the 2030 season, will be extended through 2050. In August, team officials discussed the possibility of a move if a lease extension was not agreed this fall. This will no longer be a concern for Brewer fans, at least for the better part of the next three decades.
“Now we can all sleep tonight knowing that the Brewers will be here for the next generation in a beautiful, beautifully maintained stadium that deserves the support of the fans.” the team’s president of business operations, Rick Schlesinger, told reporters (including Opoien) on Tuesday.
Some residents will surely be hesitant to commit significant public funds to upgrade the stadium. There was opposition in the state Senate, with the bill passing by a slim margin of 19-14.
The Brewers have played in Milwaukee since 1970. The franchise started as an expansion team in Seattle, but only spent one season there before moving to Wisconsin. While the Rays and Brewers have reached agreements on stadium contracts, the A’s are the only franchise moving in the near future. MLB owners unanimously approved the Athletics’ request to move to Las Vegas this morning.
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