Herb Kohl agreed to sell the Bucks to a new ownership group, but was diligent in ensuring the team stays in Milwaukee. Not only did the owner of 29 years make keeping the team in the city a condition of the sale agreement, he's also contributing $100 million toward a new arena. The new ownership duo of Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens also agreed to contribute at least $100 million, according to a release from the team.
It's extremely rare for a departing owner to make a financial commitment like Kohl, but not every selling owner is as committed to the long-term future of the organization. Kohl, the former U.S. Senator in Wisconsin, reiterated the importance of keeping the team in Milwaukee during the news conference to announce the agreed upon deal.
"My priority has always been and will continue to be keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee," Kohl said. "This announcement reinforces that Milwaukee is and will continue to be the home of the Bucks. Wes and Marc agree, and they share my commitment to the long-term success of this franchise in Milwaukee."
The NBA has publicly criticized the 25-year-old BMO Harris Bradley Center with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver saying the building is too small and lacks amenities. A remodel isn't an option as a task force recently determined "retrofitting the BMO Harris Bradley Center was not feasible," according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. That leaves building a new arena as the only option for long-term stability for the team in Milwaukee. The pledged $200 million will go a long way to securing a new arena deal and is similar to what other ownership groups have contributed to new arenas.
The Kings' new ownership group is expected to contribute roughly $190 million toward the new $448 million arena in Sacramento. Whether or not the city of Milwaukee agrees to a similar deal remains to be seen, but the pledged $200 million will at a minimum be the start to funding a new arena. In a statement, Larsy and Edens said they are committed to the city.
"We are lifelong basketball fans who are committed to the success of the Bucks and the identity of the team as a part of the city of Milwaukee. It is our vision for this franchise to be admired both locally and nationally for its success on the court, the quality of its organization and the loyalty of its fan base. Having each built competitive teams in the business world, we will apply that same intensity and determination as owners of the Milwaukee Bucks. We are as passionate and energized as Bucks fans are about bringing home an NBA championship to Milwaukee."