Bradley Center

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Bradley Center
The B.C.
Bmo harris bradley center2.jpg
Bradley Center
Address 1001 North Fourth Street
Location Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Coordinates 43°2′37″N 87°55′1″W / 43.04361°N 87.91694°W / 43.04361; -87.91694Coordinates: 43°2′37″N 87°55′1″W / 43.04361°N 87.91694°W / 43.04361; -87.91694
Owner Bradley Center Sports and Entertainment Corporation
Operator Bradley Center Sports and Entertainment Corporation
Capacity Wrestling: 18,800
Concerts: 20,000
College basketball: 18,850
18,633 (1988–1997)
18,717 (1997–present)
Ice hockey: 17,845
Indoor soccer: 17,800
Broke ground October 20, 1986
Opened October 1, 1988[6]
Construction cost $91 million
($184 million in 2017 dollars[1])
Architect HOK Sport (now Populous)
Kahler Slater
Torphy Architects
Zimmerman Design Group[2]
Structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti[3]
Services engineer M-E Engineers, Inc.[4]
General contractor Huber, Hunt & Nichols[5]
Milwaukee Bucks (NBA) (1988–present)
Milwaukee Admirals (IHL/AHL) (1988–2016)
Marquette Golden Eagles (NCAA) (1988–present)
Milwaukee Wave (MISL) (1988–2003)
Milwaukee Mustangs (AFL) (1994–2001)
Milwaukee Mustangs (AFL) (2009–2012)

The Bradley Center (known as the BMO Harris Bradley Center under sponsorship agreements) is an indoor arena located on the northwest corner of North 4th and West State Streets in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States.

It is home to the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA and the Marquette University men's basketball team. It is also the former home of the Milwaukee Wave of the MISL, from 1988 to 2003, the original Milwaukee Mustangs of the AFL from 1994 to 2001, along with the second incarnation of the team from 2009 to 2012, the Badger Hockey Showdown from 1989 to 2002, and the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL (and formerly of the IHL) from 1988 to 2016.


The arena opened on October 1, 1988, with an exhibition hockey game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Edmonton Oilers. At $90 million, it was meant to be a modern replacement of its current cross-street neighbor, The MECCA (now the UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena), built in 1950. The arena was built as an attempt to attract an expansion franchise for the National Hockey League, though this never occurred, and the International Hockey League's Milwaukee Admirals (later moving to the American Hockey League) used the arena for the majority of its existence. The MECCA, during much of its time operating as an NBA facility, had the league's smallest seating capacity, holding just over 11,000 people. Funds to build the Center were donated as a gift to the State of Wisconsin by broadcaster/Admirals owner Lloyd Pettit and his wife, Jane Bradley Pettit, in memory of Jane's late father, Harry Lynde Bradley of the Allen-Bradley company.

Despite being one of the premier NBA facilities when completed in 1988, it is currently one of the oldest active NBA arenas (The Palace of Auburn Hills in suburban Detroit also opened in 1988), only behind Madison Square Garden in New York City (which was renovated in 2011), and Oracle Arena in Oakland (which was significantly remodeled during the mid-1990s and will be replaced with the Chase Center in San Francisco in approximately fall 2019). The donation from the Pettits did not include provision for the building's long-term capital needs or annual operating expenses. While the facility is self-sufficient, in recent years its tenants have been at a disadvantage compared with other NBA teams due to the arrangement.[7]

For several years, former Bucks owner and former U.S. Senator Herb Kohl proposed constructing a new, state-of-the-art downtown arena, but the community reaction to the idea of a publicly funded arena was mostly negative. In 2009, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle included a provision in the state's capital budget seeking $5 million in state bonding support to renovate the Bradley Center. The Bradley Center's board of directors told state officials that the building needs $23 million in renovations, so they reportedly agreed to raise the remaining $18 million on their own.[8]

During the summer of 2010 the arena's longtime Sony Jumbotron scoreboard was replaced with a new 3.5-million-pixel LED unit manufactured by TS Sports and Lighthouse Technologies, and was put into service in October 2010 at the start of the Admirals season. Unlike many other NBA and NHL scoreboards, the bottom panel also has an LED screen, allowing display of many images above the floor itself rather than a static image of a sponsor or team logo.[9]

On May 21, 2012, the Bucks' then-owner Herb Kohl and representatives from BMO Harris Bank announced that the bank had officially purchased the naming rights for the Bradley Center, and it would now be called the BMO Harris Bradley Center.[10]


On September 18, 2013, then-deputy NBA commissioner Adam Silver toured the arena and found it unbefitting of an NBA team. Silver said that the building was a few thousand square feet short of NBA standards, and also lacked numerous amenities.[11] The NBA issued a mandate requiring the Bucks to relocate, or be close to completion of a new facility by 2017.

On April 16, 2014, Bucks' owner Herb Kohl announced an agreement to sell the franchise to New York City hedge-fund investors Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens. The deal included provisions for $100 million each from Kohl and the new ownership group, for a total of $200 million, toward the construction of a new downtown arena.[12]

On July 15, 2015, the Wisconsin Senate approved funding for the new Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center by a 21-10 margin, and on July 28, 2015, the Wisconsin State Assembly approved funding by a 52-34 margin.[13] On August 12, 2015, Governor Walker signed the arena spending plan at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis, Wisconsin.[14]

During summer of 2016 the Admirals moved to the Panther Arena and the Bradley Center was modified to allow normal operation for two-years while making space for the construction of the new arena to the north. The arena's icemaking plant and HVAC buildings were demolished and the arena's cooling facilities moved to a smaller facility away from the construction site. As the arena will no longer host regular hockey games, it will only need to create ice for Disney on Ice performances in 2017 and 2018 and can use portable icemaking equipment. Other modifications include a new loading dock and trash disposal facilities on the east side of the structure.[15]

Notable events[edit]

The arena hosted the NCAA Frozen Four finals in 1993, 1997 and 2006 and the Great Midwest Conference men's basketball tournament in 1995.

The BMO Harris Bradley Center also played host to the first UFC event in Wisconsin: UFC Live: Hardy vs. Lytle on August 14, 2011. UFC 164 was also held at the arena on August 31, 2013.

The Bradley Center was a host site for second and third-round games in the 2014 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, for the sixth time since 1992.

Professional wrestling[edit]

The Bradley Center has been a fixture for World Wrestling Entertainment since February 1989 (then WWF) when it hosted The Main Event II, where the Mega Powers of Macho Man Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan disbanded, setting up a match between the two stars at WrestleMania V. Shortly thereafter, WWE's ratings fell and they began using the smaller MECCA for shows.

In the early 2000s, WWE returned to the Bradley Center for pay-per-views No Way Out (2002), Taboo Tuesday (2004), and Elimination Chamber (2012), and Fastlane (2017). The Bradley Center also regularly hosts episodes of Raw and SmackDown Live.


Jerry Garcia Band Played an exceptionally fine show November 23rd deep in the throes of a sneak attack fall tour in 1991. The playing was incredibly hot and many minds were either blown, melted or lost...depending on source. The Shining Star that night could of brought upon world peace.

Diana Ross was scheduled to perform during her Return to Love Tour on July 16, 2000, but the show was cancelled, due to low ticket sales.

Lady Gaga brought The Monster Ball Tour to the arena on September 2, 2010 to a sold out crowd.

Early auditions for the tenth season of American Idol were held at the arena on July 21, 2010.

Justin Bieber brought his Believe Tour to the arena on October 21, 2012 to a sold out crowd.

The arena hosted Taylor Swift's Speak Now World Tour on June 8, 2011. During which, the event was broadcast on national television during the 2011 CMT Music Awards when Swift accepted the award for Video of the Year via satellite. She did not attend the awards ceremony in order to perform the concert.

The Bradley Center hosted P!nk's Truth About Love Tour to a sold out arena, on January 9, 2014.

On September 25–26, 2015, Garth Brooks performed 3 separate shows at the arena during his World Tour along with his wife Trisha Yearwood and Country newcomer Karyn Rochelle.

Bruce Springsteen's sold out show on March 3, 2016 is his eighth time playing the venue, the most of any artist.[16]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  2. ^ "2010–2011 Milwaukee Bucks Media Guide" (PDF). Milwaukee Bucks. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Sports & Entertainment" (PDF). Thornton Tomasetti. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Projects: Professional Sports Arenas". M-E Engineers, Inc. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  5. ^ "BMO Harris Bradley Center". Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  6. ^ "BMO Harris Bradley Center". World of Stadiums. Retrieved 14 March 2017. 
  7. ^ Walker, Don (December 13, 2008). "Bradley Center a Home-Court Disadvantage". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  8. ^ Walker, Don (March 26, 2009). "Doyle Budget Includes Help for Bradley Center". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  9. ^ Walker, Don (June 10, 2010). "Bradley Center Unveils Details of New Scoreboard". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  10. ^ Walker, Don (May 21, 2012). "Naming Rights for Bradley Center Sold to BMO Harris". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  11. ^ Kirchen, Rich (September 18, 2013). "Incoming NBA Commissioner Silver Says Bradley Center Unfit for League". Milwaukee Business Journal. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  12. ^ Walkers, Don (April 17, 2014). "Kohl Sells Bucks for $550 Million; $200 Million Pledged for New Arena". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  13. ^ Bayatpour, A.J. (July 28, 2015). "Wisconsin Assembly approves Milwaukee Bucks arena funding deal; Gov. Walker says he'll sign it". WITI News. Associated Press. 
  14. ^ O'Brien, Brendan (August 12, 2015). "Wisconsin's Walker signs NBA arena spending plan for Milwaukee". Yahoo! Sports. Reuters. 
  15. ^ Daykin, Tom (4 June 2016). "Demolitions, Bradley Center renovations set stage for Bucks arena". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 18 July 2016. 
  16. ^ "concert announcement: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band" (Press release). BMO Harris Bradley Center. December 4, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Home of the
Milwaukee Bucks

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Knickerbocker Arena
Albany, New York
Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by
Saint Paul Civic Center
St. Paul, Minnesota
Preceded by
Riverfront Coliseum
Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Value City Arena
Columbus, Ohio
Host of the
Frozen Four

Succeeded by
Scottrade Center
St. Louis, Missouri