Major League Baseball’s smallest market is facing new pressure to upgrade its home ballpark.
The Wisconsin legislature needs to approve a plan to finance $448 million in long-term renovations to the Milwaukee Brewers’ American Family Field, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — or risk losing the club to another city.
Earlier this year, the Brewers detailed the extensive upgrades needed, but league and team sources told Front Office Sports that conversations remain ongoing between the club, league, and local officials — and that such brinkmanship is overblown, especially in contrast with the far more troubled situation between Oakland and the A’s.
But efforts by Wisconsin’s Democrat Gov. Tony Evers to secure $290 million in funding have run into resistance thus far from the state’s Republican-controlled legislature.
Despite Milwaukee’s smaller size, the Brewers have routinely ranked as a strong mid-tier club in league attendance. The publicly owned ballpark, which opened in 2001, hosted the 2002 MLB All-Star Game and numerous Brewers playoff games, but its original funding and construction were also sources of significant controversy.
The Brewers’ lease runs through the end of 2030, and terms dictate the state’s Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District is responsible for “all major capital repairs.”
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred will be in Milwaukee on Thursday, meeting with both Brewers and Giants players.