MILWAUKEE – A new study of the Bradley Center’s economic impact on the Southeastern Wisconsin region shows that the crown jewel of Milwaukee’s Downtown entertainment area packs a powerful punch of $204 million of gross economic impact and a net economic impact of $86 million.
The study also shows that nearly one out of three Bradley Center event attendees comes from outside the metro Milwaukee area of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties and that these non-local residents generate $41.6 million of new spending in the metro area every year. Additionally, the study showed that one out of every two Bradley Center event attendees comes from outside of Milwaukee County.
The new study, conducted by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), indicated that the Bradley Center’s overall impact supports 2,350 jobs with an annual payroll of more than $73 million, while its net impact supports 1,068 jobs with an annual payroll of more than $29 million.
“The Bradley Center is a tremendous economic asset to the metro Milwaukee community and beyond, and it supports thousands of jobs and pumps tens of millions of new dollars into the local economy every year,” said Tim Sheehy, president of the MMAC.
“While there are still long-term questions about a new arena for Downtown Milwaukee, the Bradley Center’s role in the business community continues to be quite significant. The Bradley Center is a great place, and we need to do more to keep it working and working well as a major part of our Downtown economy,” Sheehy added. “The overall impact of having more than 1.2 million people attend nearly 170 events a year is significant, and we have to keep this engine revved up while we decide what to do about the future.”
Sheehy also pointed out that the Bradley Center generates more than $95 million in direct revenue every year, and that about $8.8 million in state and local tax revenues are generated annually by the Bradley Center’s overall economic impact.
The study was prepared by MMAC Economic Research Director Bret Mayborne, and his study included the gross impact of all economic activity supported by spending generated by Bradley Center activity. The economic components that were part of the study included tickets, concessions, merchandise sold at athletic competitions, concerts and other events and related spending for parking, restaurants, bars and hotels.
Mayborne pointed out that the net impact measures only the effect of new dollars spent, with the assumption that if the Bradley Center, its teams and events did not exist, some of the related spending would shift to other entertainment options such as movies, theaters and other activities that would still benefit the local economy.
“The bottom line is whether you look at the gross or net impacts, the Bradley Center has a large and important economic footprint in our region,” Mayborne said. “No matter how you slice it, the Bradley Center clearly brings in millions of dollars in revenue, creates more than 1,000 good jobs and sparks significant, additional positive economic activity throughout the Southeast Wisconsin region.”
Sheehy said the dollar figures and job numbers contained in the report are significant and measurable, but he added that the “economic intangibles” increase the Bradley Center’s value to the metro Milwaukee area.
“Being a big league city and having multiple entertainment choices plays a key role in the attractiveness of a metro area,” Sheehy said. “It’s important to our community’s image that the Bradley Center offers the opportunity to attend professional and collegiate sporting events, A-list concerts and the nation’s best touring family shows. There is a significant value to our community’s image by having teams like the Admirals, Golden Eagles and Bucks playing in the Bradley Center and all of these factors contribute to the Bradley Center’s significant economic value and lasting impact.”