Sunday, August 31, 2008

Brewers Ticket Sales Exceed One Early State Estimate

In the mid-1990's, one of the initial plans to help finance the new Miller Park with state assistance (a $50 million loan from WHEDA, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority) fell through, in part because a consultant told the Wisconsin Department of Administration that to merely break even, a new stadium would have to average 80% occupancy, and bring in additional revenues with at least five concerts annually, too.

I'm pulling these numbers out of my memory - - admittedly a dangerous thing - - but only because I was allowed to read, but not copy - - a DOA consultant's report that the agency shared with me when I was a reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

My recollection is that this was in early 1996, when I was working on a stadium story shortly before I left the paper that June.

My recollection is that the consulting firm was from Pennsylvania.

With three million tickets sold this year, the stadium is averaging close to 90% occupancy - - a record, certainly - - and an indication that a good team and brilliant marketing can put a franchise on the right track even after 25 years of disappointments.

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