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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The building is virtually complete, and the new Milwaukee Bucks arena is fully plugged in — including all 850 flat panel televisions that were jumping with action Wednesday afternoon.
The number of screens is almost overwhelming, and perhaps nowhere is that more clear than in the main concourse on the arena's north side. There, 30 TVs hang back to back in rows in front of the concession stands.
Fans will have a hard time missing a single play in the $524 million building.
While the sheer number of panels is striking, they pale in comparison to the new scoreboard, which also was fired up for a media tour.
The Daktronics display includes four huge side displays, and an equal number of smaller panels tilted at an angle underneath, for the benefit of those in the most expensive seats. Those folks will no longer be straining their necks to see a replay, said Bucks President Peter Feigin.
The scoreboard surface area is 50 percent larger than the one in the BMO Harris Bradley Center, the Bucks' previous home. On Wednesday, the arena was lit up, decked out and seemed nearly event-ready. Beyond the glitz, the place is nearly ready for a basketball game.
That includes a basketball court and courtside seats. There are also two recently installed stanchions with hoops and nets installed.
Feigin says no one's taken a first shot yet, in part because the stanchions were not yet ready for action.
"Soon," he said with a laugh. "Soon."
With a flat ceiling, and huge banks of speakers surrounding the scoreboard, Feigin says the arena was engineered to be a loud and daunting place for opposing teams.
"You can make the roof blow off if you really wanted to," he said.
The new arena is scheduled to open in late summer.
Feigin offered his enthusiastic pitch about every aspect of the building and the NBA season ahead but had nothing new to offer about the most important outstanding issue facing the team: Naming rights for the building.
Other tour highlights:
The Panorama Club, the highest fan gathering spot in the arena, delivers on its promise of being a spectacular view of the basketball court and downtown. Feigin calls it the "coolest event space in the Midwest" that can be flexible to handle gatherings on non-event days.
Sales are underway for two Tower Lounges, "high, high end" private spaces that hold 30 people and include their own bars and food-serving areas, Feigin said. The upper concourse spaces are sold on a per-event basis. "We're in the first three innings" of Tower Lounge sales, he said. "A lot of it is explaining what it is."
A new Bango "monument" at the northeast corner of the building along Juneau Avenue will be a fun gathering spot. "It glows," Feigin said. "It emotes."
Built with $250 million in public money, the arena is owned by the Wisconsin Center District and leased to the Bucks. The Bucks will keep all revenue generated at the arena in exchange for a promise to pay for upkeep.
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