Seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in state funds for stadium renovations, the Milwaukee Brewers spent more on lobbying in the first half of the year than any other organization in Wisconsin, an investigation by The Badger Project has found.
The stadium, which opened in 2001 as Miller Park and known as American Family Field since 2021, needs more than $400 million in updates over the next 20 years, according to two reports, one commissioned by the Brewers and one by the state.
Before it funds a renovation, the state wants a commitment from the Brewers to extend its lease in Milwaukee. The Brewers’ current lease expires in 2030.
The state of Wisconsin has strict lobbying laws, perhaps some of the toughest in the country. Legislators are not allowed to accept anything — not even a cup of coffee — from a lobbyist.
In February, Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat and vocal Brewers fan, proposed $290 million in state funding for the renovations in exchange for extending the lease to 2043. Republicans balked. When asked in August if the governor had updated his position, his press office referred The Badger Project to the original plan.
Speaker Robin Vos, the top Republican in the state, said in an email to The Badger Project, “We are engaging in discussions, and working to find a consensus that everyone can support. We hope to have a finalized proposal in the near future. We do not want the Brewers to leave, nor do we think they will.”
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