Kohl: Without investors & new arena, 'Would we at some point lose the Bucks? Yes.'
Herb Kohl. Photo: Image by TODAY'S TMJ4
The Milwaukee Bucks' owner and former Wisconsin senator says he's going to search for new investors to keep the team in Milwaukee.
"This is Milwaukee's franchise for Milwaukee. Anyone who's interested in owning an NBA property in Milwaukee will come forward," said Herb Kohl on Monday.
"My interest is in Milwaukee, the Bucks staying here, getting to a new facility, a brighter future, a better future. It's all about hope."
When asked by TODAY'S TMJ4's Tom Murray if the team could lose the Bucks, he explained, "Without new investors, without a new facility, would we at some point lose the Bucks? Yes."
Early Monday, Kohl sent the following statement:
“When I bought the Milwaukee Bucks back in 1985, it was for one reason—to keep the team here. To this day, that remains a top priority. We are proud to be an NBA city. We are very grateful to our fans and business partners who support us. I am especially proud of the extraordinary people in the Bucks organization who work tirelessly to deliver a good product and great entertainment. The best players in the world perform in our city every year, spreading the names of Milwaukee and Wisconsin around the country and, indeed, around the world.
"Over the next several months I will be considering broadening the ownership of the Bucks as a way to strengthen the franchise and keep it in Milwaukee. I have retained Steve Greenberg, Managing Director of Allen & Company, as my advisor. I have done business with Allen & Co. for over thirty years and they are a great organization. In the event new investor partners are added, they will need to be as committed to keeping the team in Milwaukee as I am.
"In addition to committed ownership, it is imperative that we get to a new 21st century sports and entertainment facility in a timely manner, not only for the Bucks but also for the more than 1.5 million visitors who attend nearly 200 events held there each year.”
When asked about whether he would keep majority ownership with new investors, he said, "It is a process. I don't know how this thing is going to develop, because it's starting today. We'll see how the process plays out. Where I fit into that, where I can be most useful, most productive, I'll figure that out."
He also explained the team could make a profit, something that in the past was not anywhere a guarantee for a small-market team.
"With the new CBA and revenue sharing that are now in existence, every NBA team that is managed well can make some money...we are in a position as well as other small markets to show a profit."
More than anything else, Kohl made it clear he won't sell to anyone who would move the team.
"While somebody might wish, and it won't happen, to take our franchise, it's not going to happen. This is Milwaukee's franchise."
Much speculation has happened in recent time as to who could purchase the team, following the beginning of a public debate about a new arena.