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Who is paying for the proposed $646 million in updates to American Family Field?

What would you do with $646 million? That's what the Brewers organization is hoping for to make repairs to the American Family Field.
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Posted at 12:00 PM, Oct 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-17 13:00:46-04

MILWAUKEE — What would you do with $646 million? That's what the Brewers organization is hoping for to make repairs to the American Family Field.

On Tuesday, the State Assembly is voting on a bill that would put a big chunk of that price tag on state and local governments.

Fans of the team and residents in the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County are split on how much sales tax revenue should fund the stadium upgrades.

Matthew Garcia thinks the investment will result in a home run.

"I don't mind it," Garcia said. "I mean the same way how we kind of did with the Bucks arena. It ended up bringing so much other stuff to our town."

But Matt DeBow thinks the current amount proposed in the bill could lead to a strikeout.

"I think the state should contribute given the Brewers are important to this part of the state. But, then again, we gotta be careful about not over-committing funds that could be used to better Milwaukee and the surrounding areas in ways that aren't really related to a private sports team," DeBow said.

Debow would like to see some of that money invested instead in things like addressing homelessness and overdose prevention.

So who's on the line for how much in the stadium funding bill?

Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee are expected to each contribute $2.5 million annually until 2050. Combined, that's $135 million total. The state will contribute $411 million and the Brewers say they'll put in $100 million.

The $646 million will go to various projects. A study commissioned by the Brewers found outfield glass doors, seats, and concourses need to be replaced, the retractable roof needs repairs and luxury suites, and the fire suppression system and parking lots need upgrades. Other repairs/fixes are also needed according to the study.

DeBow wants the team to have a bigger share of the costs.

"I just think given the amount of money baseball owners do have, they should contribute more," Debow said.

According to Yahoo Finance, the team's principal owner has a network estimated at $700 million. Forbes says the team is valued at $1.6 billion.

Garcia thinks the potential of an entertainment district in the area, like the Deer District around Fiserv Forum, would make the investment worthwhile.

"Me who doesn't go to a lot of baseball games in general, it would make me want to go over there a little bit more," Garcia shared.

If the Assembly passes the bill, it will head to the Senate where the proposed funding amounts could change.