Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin said Monday that the NBA could buy the franchise and relocate it if Wisconsin's state legislature does not approve public funding for a new arena in Milwaukee.
Addressing the legislature's finance committee at an informal hearing, Feigin warned that the NBA could purchase the team and move it “Las Vegas or Seattle,” according to the Milwaukee Business Journal.
The Bucks hope to begin construction on their new arena this year but are waiting for the state to approve $250 million in public funds. Construction needs to begin by October or November to prevent the NBA from beginning a search for new owners, Feigin said.
The Bucks' lease at their current arena expires in 2017 and the NBA does not want the team to extend it, Feigin said.
The arena is expected to cost $500 million to build, with Bucks ownership contributing $150 million. Former Bucks owner Herb Kohl, an ex-United States senator, will pay $100 million. The remaining $250 million will be publicly funded, including up to $220 million potentially coming from the so-called “jock tax.”
Because of its aging arena and small market, Milwaukee has long been rumored as a franchise that could be relocated. When the team was sold last April, new owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry vowed to keep the team in Milwaukee.
- Dan Gartland