The Milwaukee Bucks are still looking to get a new arena built to replace their home, the BMO Bradley Center. This new arena is expected to cost $420 million, with nearly $300 million of the cost coming from private investors, and needs to be opened by 2017. Despite the massive private investment, local politicians have been noncommittal about legislating $120 million in public funds for an arena. Now those politicians have polling data to see how the public feels about funding the arena.
The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel is reporting that there is mixed public support for public financing on the arena, based off of a poll done by the Wisconsin Public Policy Research Institute. According to the Sentinel, nearly a third of the respondents (32.9%) were “completely opposed” to public funding of an arena, while 18.4% were “somewhat opposed”. Meanwhile 28.9% of respondents were somewhat supportive, and 7.2% were completely supportive. This means that the majority of respondents (51.3%) are opposed to funding of the arena, and only 36.1% supporting it — leaving 12.6% of the respondents as undecided).
Only 600 Wisconsin residents were surveyed during a two-day period by the Institute.
It isn’t surprising to see that the majority of people are opposed to public funding towards a new arena; especially since the poll questions didn’t mention how much public money would be going to the arena. Instead these questions asked about whether or not they supported public funding for pro sports teams, the Bucks, or the Green Bay Packers.
“The survey asked three questions: whether there was support or opposition for public funding in general for pro sports teams, support or opposition for public funding for the Green Bay Packers and support or opposition for public funding for the Milwaukee Bucks. The survey did not attempt to define the kind of public support, such as a sales tax or the diversion of income and sales taxes paid by professional athletes or stadium and arena patrons to support state bonds.” – MWJS
It would be interesting to see polling data that had questions about funding for a new Bucks arena, and what kind of financing plan Wisconsin/Milwaukee residents would be willing to support.