Milwaukee Bucks fans will be able to get lit on Miller Lite at the team’s new arena.
Bucks officials named Miller Brewing Co. a “founding partner” and the exclusive beer partner of the new arena on Thursday. The more-than 710,000-square-foot arena is being built near the corner of North 4th Street and West Juneau Avenue in downtown Milwaukee.
“Miller will be the beer of the Milwaukee Bucks,” Peter Feigin, team president, said at a news conference inside the arena, which is expected to be completed toward the end of the summer.
The terms of the partnership call for the arena to have three main Miller-branded bars. The new venue’s main concourse will have a bar bearing the Miller name and a separate one for Leinenkugel’s. And the open concourse will have a Coors Light bar, as well as a Coors Light “Silver Bullet” suite – an event space with room for 60 people.
To kick the deal off, Miller had a catered lunch brought in for construction crews working at the arena site on Thursday. Besides food, workers received a cooler and pilsner glass bearing the Bucks and Coors Light brands.
Jim Kanter, general manager of Miller Brewing Co., said the company’s relationship with the Bucks dates to when the team was formed about 50 years ago. He said Miller officials want to be part not only of the new arena but also other developments being built nearby.
“We understand how important this new arena is to the community and the (building) renaissance of what is going on in downtown Milwaukee,” Kanter said. “We want to continue to be an active participant in that. And the Bucks, the ownership group and Peter and his team really put the stake in the ground here to start that off.”
Work on the arena is being overseen by Mortenson Construction is nearly 85 percent finished. Mike Sorge, construction executive and project manager at Mortenson, said the building’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are “essentially complete.” Crews are also busy finishing up tiling, carpeting and mill work and installing seats.
“Really the part that’s transforming right now is the bowl,” Sorge said. “So the progress on the bowl, of course, the scoreboards are complete, the wooden boards are complete, we’re placing the ice floor tomorrow. That’s a big milestone. The lower bowl seating has completed (installation). The suite-level seating is completed, and we’re working on the upper bowl, which is about 40 percent done.”
Sorge said audio and lighting equipment has also been put in. He said crews will soon also start giving the bowl “acoustical treatments.” The panels and other features that will be installed as part of that process will help muffle sound inside the arena.
“We’re in really good shape,” he said. “Actually, we’re starting what’s called the punch list process, which is the final inspection. … That process will take several months.”
With Thursday’s announcement, Miller Brewing Co. has joined BMO Harris Bank, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin and Johnson Controls as founding partners of the new arena.Follow @alexzank