Wisconsin Center District continuing talks to move Admirals to Panther Arena

Weak national convention business felt in district revenues

UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.

Last updated on July 7th, 2019 at 02:41 pm

The Wisconsin Center District is continuing its talks with the Milwaukee Admirals hockey team about moving the team’s games to the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena after a new arena replaces the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

“We’re talking to them about a possible move, however a date and the specifics have not been discussed,” said Russ Staerkel, president and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Center District. “Of course we want to see the Admirals play there, but that’s up to the good folks from the Admirals to decide. The hockey games combined with food and beverage would be a huge increase for the revenue of the Panther Arena.”

UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena
UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena

The increase would be good for the district, which reported Friday that overall operating revenue was 35 percent below budget as of June 2015 due to a disappointing first six months of national convention business and poor food and beverage sales.

Despite the shortfall, the district believes it will end the year with a balanced budget because it has kept expenses under budget throughout the year. For the first six months of 2015, non-operating revenue was 19 percent above budget and operating expenses was 11.5 percent under budget.

The budget projections for 2015 were presented Friday morning during the monthly Wisconsin Center District board meeting. The board also unanimously passed the 2016 budget.

“It has been a challenging year, but we are working hard,” said Scott Neitzel, chairman of the district board.

The district owns and operates the Wisconsin Center convention center, the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena and the Milwaukee Theatre.

A few bright spots of the year was the 2015 Skate America competition at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena from Oct. 23-25 and the sold out Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard show at the Milwaukee Theatre on Oct. 24.

In the first six months of 2015, the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena and Milwaukee Theatre combined to generate $1.85 million in overall revenue, which is an indication of the importance of those two buildings within the district, said Russ Staerkel, president and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Center District.

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