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March 21, 2015 Updates

While Milwaukee Bucks executives and their new design team scramble to get cost estimates for a new downtown arena to city, county and state officials, the franchise is signaling that its owners will not go beyond their $250 million commitment for the project. A source familiar with the team's planning said principal owners Wes Edens and Marc Lasry "do not intend to exceed" the amount they promised when they purchased the team from former Sen. Herb Kohl. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

February 15, 2015 Updates
February 9, 2015 Updates

The latest twist -- a proposed $220 million public financing plan via bonds, promoted late last month by Gov. Scott Walker, that would help the team build the $450 million to $500 million arena that the league has repeatedly said is necessary to keep the team in Milwaukee -- is currently on the rocky shoals of the Wisconsin State Assembly. Last week, the Speaker of the Assembly, Rep. Robin Vos, said there was "zero chance" of the proposal passing the Assembly unless the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County were prepared to also make financial commitments toward building the arena. NBA.com

"From my perspective, I've always wanted to do everything to keep the team in Milwaukee," Vos said in a phone interview Friday. "But you have to engage the people who never have, never want or never will go to a Bucks game. You have to come up with a plan other than 'wouldn't it be great for the Bucks to stay here?' " Working with the Bucks and the state, Vos commissioned a study last fall to take a deeper dive into exactly how much the team's presence in the state generated each year. During the joint discussions, according to a source with knowledge of the talks, the idea of using projected increased revenues from the jock tax came up, not just as a means of financing the arena, but for generating revenues after the bonds were repaid. NBA.com

The number is further exacerbated by the current uncertainty about an arena site. The Bucks wanted to use a block of land in downtown Milwaukee that currently houses the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel newspaper's staff. But the team is also looking at alternative sites as talks to buy the Journal buildings have stalled. "We don't know where the arena's going to be. And we don't know how much it's going to cost," Vos said. "It's very hard for me to sell a plan if I don't know the cost and I don't know the location." NBA.com

January 27, 2015 Updates

No new taxes, no hole in the state budget, and no loss of Wisconsin's professional basketball team -- or the revenue they provide. Those were the big talking points for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday morning, as Walker outlined a plan to use the growth in NBA player tax revenues to finance $220 million in bonding for a new multi-purpose arena in downtown Milwaukee. In a short prepared presentation at the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Walker noted that NBA players currently pay $6.52 million annually in state income taxes, and that the projected growth in player salaries (and thus tax collections) could finance the full $220 million in revenue bonds included in his new state budget. Central to that projected growth is the NBA's new nine-year, $24 billion TV pact starting in 2016, a deal that roughly triples the current $900 million annual TV deal split among franchises. Brew Hoop

Gov. Scott Walker is expected to announce Tuesday morning that he plans to put into the state budget a financing plan that includes bonding to help build a multipurpose arena in downtown Milwaukee. A source familiar with Walker's plan said the governor's plan relies on the diversion of income taxes paid by visiting National Basketball Association athletes as well as Milwaukee Bucks players to pay the debt service on the bonding. The plan also could include diverting sales taxes paid for some goods and services at the new arena. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

A new arena is expected to cost between $400 million and $500 million. With at least $250 million up front from the Bucks, that means general fund-backed bonding of $150 million or more would be needed unless more private financing is found. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

“The NBA owners know it’s a lot more than the TV contract that brought the values up,” an NBA team source tells Breitbart Sports, “It’s the sports betting.” The source’s comment follows a Forbes report recapping fiscal year 2014. According to the report, the NBA underwent a value surge unmatched by any other professional sport. The Milwaukee Bucks, peculiarly purchased in part by Marc Lasry in April of 2014 for an estimated six times more than their annual revenue, sit at the bottom of the Forbes 30-team list. Breitbart News Network

Near the top of Forbes’s rankings are former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s Los Angeles Clippers. Before purchasing the Donald Sterling-defamed Clippers, he ran the computer software empire during the peak of Microsoft’s development of touch-screen interfaces. Conveniently, the league source describes a marriage between Ballmer’s former business and Lasry’s alleged dirty hobby as the key to to an endless revenue stream that NBA owners anxiously seek to tap into. “In addition to all of the regular bets we already have, you’ll be able to sit at an NBA game or on your couch and bet on jump shots by pressing a button on the iPad or your cellphone or any of the gadgets,” explained the league source. “You’ll do this as much as you want throughout the game.” Breitbart News Network

January 14, 2015 Updates

The Bucks have delayed an announcement on the site and plans for a new downtown arena, but Lasry believes it will be worth the wait. "The problem is every time I get asked how much longer, it seems it should be the next 30 to 60 days," Lasry said of an announcement. "But it seems I've been saying that literally for the last three to four months. "It is just taking longer. But I do believe now it's the next 30 to 60 days." Lasry said he thinks the final plan will be something fans can get excited about. Asked if it would have a Destination Bucks feel, he said, "That's what we're trying to do." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Marc Lasry admits he has a much different feeling as an owner than in those days when he was merely a fan. The Milwaukee Bucks co-owner hasn't done a Mark Cuban explosion on any referee yet, but he can relate to the impulse and emotional investment. "I didn't realize how much more passionate you became as an owner," Lasry said Tuesday. "You're very focused. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"I think I was a huge fan. I didn't think it could get worse, and I think it's multiples of that. I'm always screaming. "To me it has nothing to do with the referees. You're watching, so when we make a basket, you're extremely excited. When we miss a basket, you're extremely bummed or whatever it is. "It's a lot more emotional than I thought it would be." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

December 26, 2014 Updates

With the tenets of “Moneyball” now employed in the front offices of every major sport, perhaps it was inevitable that professional teams would turn to emotion metrics and neuroscience tools to try to gain an edge in evaluating players. “We spend quite a bit of time evaluating the players as basketball players and analytically,” said David Morway, Milwaukee’s assistant general manager, who works for the owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry. “But the difficult piece of the puzzle is the psychological side of it, and not only psychological, character and personality issues, but also team chemistry issues.” New York Times

December 12, 2014 Updates

As for the arena, Lasry acknowledges its shortcomings. The Bucks' home locker room is outclassed by that of many major college programs, and their practice facility is an annexed building of a Catholic archdiocese. Lasry and Edens have pledged $100 million to build a new arena, as has former owner Herb Kohl. They are still searching for ways to fund the rest, while the location has been narrowed down to three sites. Lasry says they hope to settle on one in the next month or so, after which things should begin to move quickly. “It is a process, and it’s challenging,” Lasry said. “We are trying to get the best site where we can do the best for the city. For as many people who want you to do something somewhere, there are as many people who don’t want you to do something somewhere.” Sports Illustrated

Edens' first call was to Lasry, a longtime friend. Lasry was interested but, Edens says, he was the one aggressively pushing the deal. “I gave Marc a hard time about stepping up,” Edens said. “We had one chance to buy a team that was close to New York, that was a great franchise in a great city.” ​To Edens and Lasry, one thing was made clear: If you want the team, you have to keep it in Milwaukee. Kohl, the former U.S. senator who had owned the team since 1985, had no interest in selling to a group that would move the franchise. "If he wanted to sell it to somebody who would have moved the team," Edens said, "I think he could have gotten more for it. He was very clear from the first minute of the first meeting that it was important [for the Bucks to stay put].” Sports Illustrated

December 9, 2014 Updates

Lasry is confident the Bucks will secure a deal, if only because the buyback clause and the looming Seattle threat have everyone backed into a corner. “The reason it’s gonna get done is that no one has a choice,” he says. He and Edens are based in New York, and they will not entertain the idea of moving the Bucks to a West Coast market as long as they own the team. “I have no interest in being far away,” Lasry says. “The fun of owning the team is being part of the community. You can’t do that if you’re four or five hours away.” Grantland

October 29, 2014 Updates
October 27, 2014 Updates

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