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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Brewers Owner Backtracks, Wants To Stay In Milwaukee

  • Legislative progress sparks marked change in tone from team
  • Proposed measure would upgrade 22-year-old American Family Field
Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Brewers are backtracking on their prior, not-so-veiled threat to potentially relocate without a solid deal to renovate American Family Field.

In August, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story pointed to fast-growing frustration with the state of stadium talks with Wisconsin legislators, stating that exploration of a relocation could begin this fall. Team sources then corroborated the substance of that report to Front Office Sports.

Now, team owner Mark Attanasio says there was never a desire to leave Milwaukee, where the franchise began playing in 1970. 

“I’ve never considered going anywhere else,” Attanasio said. “Right now, our lease runs until 2030, and … it’s toward the late innings of making sure we’ll be here until 2050, and that’s our sole focus.”

The changed sentiment from Attanasio and the Brewers closely follows sharply heightened engagement by state politicians to complete both an extended lease with the team and a plan to improve the 22-year-old stadium. A recently unveiled proposal by Republican lawmakers worth more than $600 million would fund a growing list of needed renovations at the ballpark. 

“The word ‘consensus’ is usually not a word used in [state capital] Madison these days, but I’m hearing really good talks and discussions from people. They want to objectively make this work,” said Rick Schlesinger, the Brewers’ president of business operations. 

The issue will be revived Thursday, when the Wisconsin Assembly’s Committee on State Affairs holds a hearing on the stadium funding. Before that, the Brewers’ NL Central-winning 2023 season came to abrupt end as the team was swept in the Wild Card round by Arizona.

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