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American Family Field legislation clears Senate; Assembly passage expected

Proposed American Family Field legislation authorizing updating and upgrading the home of the Milwaukee Brewers passed the Wisconsin Senate by a comfortable margin today, with the Assembly expected to adopt amendments to the measure as soon as today.

The Senate passed a bill largely along the lines of the legislation passed by the Assembly by a wide margin, with a few changes applied to win additional support from legislators. The first probably should have been in the legislation from the beginning: as the state is now requiring the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee Country to contributed to these upgrades, both bodies will now be represented on the board of the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District, which built and owns the ballpark. The second will use a $2/ticket surcharge (rising to $8/ticket for suites) on non-Brewers events to reduce the state’s portion of the funding to $365.8 million. That surcharge will rise gradually over the years.

The Brewers will pay $150 million in the form of increased rent payments ($100 million) and ballpark improvements ($50 million) that don’t require any district funding. That should not be hard to reach, given the team’s history of annual ballpark upgrades; the Brewers have been internally discussing upgrades for several months, we are told, so look for things like a revamped club level in the future.

“This vote by a bipartisan majority of the State Senate is a historic moment, not only allowing the Stadium District to meet its obligations to maintain the ballpark but paving the way for the Brewers to remain in Wisconsin for the next generation,” said Rick Schlesinger, President – Business Operations for the Brewers, via press statement. We appreciate the leadership in the legislature and among local officials, and beginning with that of Governor Evers, as we worked with all stakeholders to help build support for a creative solution that would protect taxpayers.”

The American Family Field legislation also extends the team’s lease through 2050.

After passage by the Assembly, Gov. Tony Evers is expected to sign the legislation.

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