MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is set to make a visit to Wisconsin this week to assist the Milwaukee Brewers in getting funding for stadium upgrades and reportedly could threaten to take the team elsewhere if state officials continue to stall on public funding.
Along with the Green Bay Packers, the Milwaukee Brewers have been one of the pillars of professional sports in the state of Wisconsin. And since its inaugural season in 1969, it has been the center of attention during the summer for many sports fans in the state. However, that could change when the team’s stadium lease ends in 2030.
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Over the last few months, the Milwaukee Brewers have sought to make needed upgrades to American Family Field. The team recently commissioned a study that found the stadium requires over $440 million in renovations that could be done over the next 20 years. However, the mid-market team can’t foot the bill themselves and has asked the state to help fund the upgrades.
Current Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, is in favor of the public assistance and has proposed a nearly $300 million payment within a new state budget proposal. The cost of stadium upgrades would be covered by that payment, along with the interest it would eventually earn. Plus, there is already another $70 million in state funds that have been set aside by the stadium district.
Milwaukee Brewers record (’22-’23): 27-22
Unfortunately for Evers and the Milwaukee Brewers, the Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature has balked at agreeing to such an expenditure. It has put the team, city, and MLB in an awkward position as the 22-year-old stadium is showing its age compared to other venues.
Well, on Thursday the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Rob Manfred will be in town for a news conference at American Family Field this week and is expected to make it clear that if the Milwaukee Brewers don’t get the funding necessary for stadium upgrades they will risk seeing the team move to another city.
The idea of an MLB team moving from its long-time home is always a touchy subject but has been in the headlines recently as the Athletics and the city of Oakland are in the final stages of a breakup that will see the team eventually leaving for Las Vegas in the coming years.
If the state is having trouble agreeing to the funding to help a professional team in one of the state’s major cities, it is unlikely they will move to another area in the state. This will be a major story to watch in the coming months.