Gov. Evers Announces Plan to Keep Major League Baseball, Brewers in Milwaukee for 20 More Years
Governor’s budget invests portion of state’s historic surplus to improve American Family Field, saving taxpayers over $200 million and generating $400 million in revenue through 2043

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today announced a new plan to keep Major League Baseball and the Milwaukee Brewers in Milwaukee for the next 20 years. The plan, released as part of the governor’s 2023-25 biennial budget proposal, will invest a small portion of the state’s historic approximately $7 billion surplus to ensure the Milwaukee Brewers remain in Milwaukee through 2043. Without this investment, the Milwaukee Brewers and Major League Baseball could leave Milwaukee as soon as the conclusion of the 2030 season when the current lease with American Family Field expires.

“I’ve been watching baseball in Milwaukee since the County Stadium days when I had the chance of a lifetime to watch Warren Spahn’s 300th-career game there way back when. As governor, and also someone who also happens to be a lifelong Brewers fan, I’m so excited about the historic opportunity we have today to keep Major League Baseball here in Milwaukee for another twenty years and to usher in a new generation of Brewers fans in Wisconsin who can grow up rooting for the home team just like I did,” said Gov. Evers.

Gov. Evers’ budget proposal, which makes a one-time investment from the state’s historic surplus rather than using long-term bonding, will save taxpayers over $200 million over the Brewers’ lease term while generating more than $400 million in revenue over the next two decades.

Ensuring professional baseball remains in Milwaukee and the ballpark is successful is also crucial to supporting working families, the local and state economies, and retaining jobs. Since opening its doors in 2001, the ballpark has generated $2.5 billion in total economic output for the state. In 2022 alone, the ballpark supported 3,000 jobs. Milwaukee Brewers and American Family field also support more than 1,100 union jobs, including Brewers employees and union employees through vendors and related services.

“What’s more, the Brewers are not only a cherished part of our state’s heritage but an essential part of Milwaukee’s and our state’s economic success,” Gov. Evers continued. “Using just a small portion of our state’s historic surplus, we can not only save over $200 million in taxpayer dollars in the long run, but keep good-paying, family-supporting jobs here and ensure the Brewers remain in Milwaukee and continue to play a critical role in our state’s economic success for another two decades.”

The Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District is charged with overseeing, operating, and maintaining American Family Field. The district’s existing lease responsibilities to the Brewers require the district to manage American Family Field maintenance and improvements. Without an investment from the state, the district does not have the resources to meet existing contractual and legal obligations to maintain and update American Family Field, posing the imminent risk of Wisconsin losing the Milwaukee Brewers and Major League Baseball.

Under the plan announced by Gov. Evers today, the state will provide a one-time investment of $290 million to the baseball park district from the state’s historic surplus funds, many of which are only available on a one-time basis. The governor’s proposed investment will be used to maintain, repair, and improve the baseball park facilities at American Family Field to ensure the baseball district can meet its existing lease obligations and responsibilities to the Brewers. The investment will ensure the Milwaukee Brewers commit to a 20-year lease, keeping the Milwaukee Brewers in Wisconsin through at least December 2043.

Plan Would Keep Major League Baseball in Milwaukee for the Next Generation

MILWAUKEE – Following the news that Governor Evers will include provisions in his state budget to ensure the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District has the funds necessary to maintain the longevity of American Family Field, Rick Schlesinger, President of Business Operations for the Milwaukee Brewers, released the following statement:

“The Milwaukee Brewers are committed to working with policymakers on both sides of the aisle to extend the life of American Family Field and help make Major League Baseball possible in Wisconsin for the next generation. This will require creative solutions that garner bipartisan support. We oppose the return of the five-county tax, and we are prepared to commit to a lease extension for the Brewers to remain at American Family Field through at least 2043.

“We are not asking for the Stadium District to take on new financial obligations under the lease, or for a new ballpark – just the resources to make sure the Stadium District’s existing obligations are met. As we said when the Stadium District’s funding shortfall first became known, we have remained focused on gathering facts and information that everyone can rely upon through a full capital needs assessment. This process of having Venue Solutions Group (VSG) perform a capital needs assessment, combined with additional diligence by the state’s consultant CAA ICON, has established those facts.

“American Family Field has had a $2.5 billion statewide economic impact, created thousands of jobs, and made it possible for a team in a small market like Milwaukee to compete. We thank Gov. Evers and the Legislature for their consideration of this issue as we work with them, the Stadium District, and all key stakeholders on next steps.”

As the primary owner and landlord of American Family Field, the Stadium District is responsible for all major capital repairs and necessary improvements. Recently it has been determined that the District will require additional funds to honor its lease obligations to the Brewers, or future obligations like them.

Since opening its doors in 2001, the ballpark has contributed $2.5 billion in direct statewide impact, according to a study released by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce in 2020, contributes millions annually in net new tax revenue to the state, and supported 3,000 jobs in 2022 alone. As the smallest market as defined by the MLB, Milwaukee requires a premier ballpark to generate ticket sales and compete – making maintenance of the ballpark all the more critical.

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