By: Wisconsin State Senator Dan Knodl
Major league baseball and the Brewers are a significant and prestigious item on the State of Wisconsin and the City of Milwaukee’s resume.
The prestige of being a Major League Baseball town is priceless. Employers big and small use Wisconsin’s resume of Great Lakes, woods and waters, arts and entertainment, successful education systems, and professional sports teams as ways to recruit the talent needed to fill our workforce and economic needs.
In short, the Brewers (and other major league attractions) are too important to lose.
The INCOME tax derived from Brewer players and staff alone totals $600 million over the term of the proposed new lease.
If the Brewers are gone, the $600 million is gone as well. Full stop.
The stadium is state-owned through the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District. Like any other property owner, the state is responsible for maintenance and improvements to the facility. Our tenants are the Milwaukee Brewers and each ticketed seat occupant.
The Brewers have been bargaining in good faith as to how much rent they should pay. A sticking point has been what, if any, rent our other seat occupant tenants pay. These tenants are paying to see and enjoy the event happening at the stadium. However, all that ticket revenue goes to the Brewers and/or the other entertainment providers (bands, etc.). It is appropriate that ALL users of the facility contribute toward its upkeep and improvements.
The taxpayers (through their elected representatives) have committed $400 million of the $600 million in players/staff income taxes the state will collect. However, that $400 million would no longer be available for other state expenses and that is the dilemma.
Adding an SRF (seat rental fee) to the cost of admission will lessen the commitment from statewide taxpayers and keep more dollars available for other state expenses/commitments.
A 3-5% SRF is suggested for Brewer games. Some examples would be a 5% fee that would add 50 cents to a $10 ticket. The same 5% fee would add $10 to a $200 ticket. The current working proposal to add a $2-8 fee on tickets for non-Brewers events.
The Brewers on behalf of their ticket purchasers have been reluctant to agree to add any seat rental fee.
As an elected representative of the people, I believe it’s prudent and proper to ask the actual tenants (Brewers and ticket holders) of the facility to pay toward its upkeep.
Though the $400 million commitment is more than covered by the $600 million collected in player/staff income taxes, an additional $100 million collected in seat rental fees would cut that state commitment by 25%.
There are nearly 3 million ticket purchasers per year using the seats, bathrooms, common areas, and other stadium amenities that need to be maintained. Shouldn’t those who actually use the facility contribute toward its upkeep?
This legislator says yes and I ask the Brewers to seriously consider adding a seat rental fee to the cost of admissions.
The statewide “non-users” of the stadium would appreciate the financial relief.
As long as the Brewers continue to put a winning product on the field, ticket demand will remain high and a small seat rental fee prudent. Milwaukee will remain a Major League destination and Wisconsin residents will benefit from the economic driver that the Brewers are.
Go Brewers, On Wisconsin, and Play Ball!