The Wisconsin state legislature passed a bill approving stadium renovations at Milwaukee’s American Family Field on Tuesday, as covered by Jessie Opoien of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. While the bill still needs approval from governor Tony Evers to officially pass, he has already announced his intent to sign off.
Under this funding plan, the state is agreeing to pay just under $366MM to support the stadium upgrades through 2050. Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee will each contribute $67.5MM. The Brewers are expected to pay roughly $150MM — around $100MM of that via rent and approximately $50MM devoted to discretionary upgrades. In total, the public funding amounts to a little over half a billion dollars over the course of 26 years.
Once signed into law by the governor, the plan will put to rest any questions about the Brewers’ future in Milwaukee. The team’s lease at American Family Field, which had been set to expire after the 2030 season, will be extended through 2050. In August, team officials floated the possibility of relocation if a lease extension weren’t agreed upon this fall. That’ll no longer be a concern for Brewer fans, at least for the better part of the next three decades.
“We now can all go to sleep tonight knowing the Brewers are going to be here for the next generation in a great, beautifully maintained ballpark that is worthy of the fans’ support,” the team’s business operations president Rick Schlesinger told reporters (including Opoien) on Tuesday.
Some residents will surely have qualms about committing significant public funding to stadium upgrades. There was opposition among the state senate, with the bill passing by a narrow 19-14 margin.
The Brewers have played in Milwaukee since 1970. The franchise began as an expansion team in Seattle but spent only one season there before moving to Wisconsin. With the Rays and Brewers reaching agreements on stadium deals, the A’s are the only franchise that will be relocating in the near future. MLB’s owners unanimously approved the Athletics’ application for relocation to Las Vegas this morning.