Yesterday, Gov. Scott Walker formally announced a public financing plan for a new downtown Milwaukee Bucks arena, which, not unlike a forced ultrasound, sounds pretty cool. As expected, the plan calls for taxpayers to foot half the bill for the proposed $500 million project, with the other half coming from past and present Bucks owners. There are plenty of questions surrounding the plan, of course—Where will the Wisconsin Center District get $93 million? Will the state really be able to collect all that Milwaukee County debt?—and it still needs to be approved by both bodies of the state Legislature, but for now, the deal is done.

Confused by all the numbers surrounding the deal? So are we, which is why we rounded up a bunch and organized them below. Hopefully this helps in the many heated arguments you’re sure to encounter in the weeks—Months? Years?—to come. (Sources: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, press release.)


Total cost of arena: $500 million

• Taxpayers’ share: $250 million

Wisconsin Center District issued bonds: $93 million

State borrowing: $55 million (over 20 years)

(Total amount state will borrow: $80 million) (over 20 years)

State-collected debts owed to Milwaukee County: $55 million (over 20 years)

(Total amount state will collect in debts owed to Milwaukee County: $80 million) (over 20 years)

New city parking structure: $35 million

New city tax incremental financing: $12 million

(Estimated taxpayers’ share after interest: $400 million)

• Bucks owners’ share: $150 million

• Former owner U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl’s share: $100 million


Total estimated loss to the state if new arena is not built: $419 million (over 20 years)

• Base income tax generated from Bucks players and visiting players: $130 million (over 20 years)

• Income tax growth from future NBA pay increases: $169 million (over 20 years)

• Taxpayer liability for BMO Harris Bradley Center: $120 million (over 10 years)


Total estimated value of proposed “Arena District”: $500 million

Amount new Bucks owners paid for team: $550 million

Age of BMO Harris Bradley Center: 27 years

Date of Mötley Crüe and Alice Cooper show at BMO Harris Bradley Center: August 7, 2015

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.