While Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said this week that his team operated “at a loss” last year, a new report produced more positive data, finding that the Brewers’ stadium has produced $2.5 billion in economic output over the past 20 years.
Miller Park opened in 2001 after Milwaukee County Stadium was torn down. According to the recent Conventions, Sports & Leisure International study, which was reported on by Microsoft News, Miller Park has drawn an average of 2.7 million paid attendees per season since its opening, with the average rising to 3.1 million during the past two seasons.
“It has been a good investment for this community,” said Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, which commissioned the study.
The report found 22 percent of attendees are estimated to live within the city of Milwaukee, 34 percent in Milwaukee County and 86 percent within the state of Wisconsin. That left around 14 percent of visitors to the park coming from outside the state.
Sheehy said that the Brewers’ future in Milwaukee hinged on a contentious debate over a stadium tax back in the late 1990s.
“It was very obvious to us without a lease and without the certainty of a new ballpark, Milwaukee would lose Major League Baseball,” Sheehy said.
Attanasio has had to defend his team’s diminishing payroll for the coming season, even as the Brewers made the NL wild-card game last year and were one of the top teams in attendance last year, drawing over 3 million to Miller Park throughout the season.
“Franchises get into trouble when they overspend and end up with a mountain of debt and then go into a long period of rebuild,” Attanasio told reporters this week at the team’s renovated American Family Fields of Phoenix facility, where the Brewers hold spring training. “We don’t want to dig a hole for ourselves. There is nobody we missed this offseason because of price that was on our list. We did want to sign Yasmani Grandal, so, maybe one.”
Miller Park will be changing names in 2021. American Family Insurance last year landed a 15-year deal for the naming rights to the facility, which will be called American Family Insurance Park.