Now that the worst-kept secret in Oshkosh history is out--and that we will be the home of the Milwaukee Bucks D-League team--let's get to work on using that new arena as much as possible. The primary tenants will obviously be the pro team--but that's just a couple of hours a day from November through March. So how to maximize the value of the development beyond that?
I would hope that the new arena will revive the former practice of holding the Oshkosh North-Oshkosh West girl-boys basketball doubleheader that used to be held at the Kolf Sports Center. Oshkosh should also be the permanent home of the sectional finals for the boys WIAA basketball playoffs as well. Talks should begin immediately with the D-League to make sure those March dates are blocked off for those games.
A long-range plan should be put into place to install an ice-making system as well. There is no reason this new arena couldn't host something like a pre-season Milwaukee Admirals game--or a college hockey showcase tournament in November and December. We could also host ice skating competitions or maybe WIAA sectional finals for boys hockey as well.
A promotions company should be lined up immediately to start booking concerts. I know there are a bunch of artists that Joe Ferlo would love to book into the Grand Opera House--but it just wouldn't be a money maker because of the limited capacity at the theater. There are plenty of acts that could draw three to four-thousand people a night that are still out there touring. And let's sign a contract right now that allows Waterfest to move its shows to the arena in the event of inclement weather. It shouldn't be that hard for attendees to figure out they need to head a little farther down Main Street for the show.
The best news today is that the D-League team will be owned by the Bucks franchise itself. That means much greater financial stability. NBA owners have shown they are willing to commit cash to keep their side interests afloat--look at how much money they have lost on the Women's NBA over the last 20-years. That means we don't have to worry about the new team being here for a couple of years--not making enough of a profit and heading somewhere else for greener pastures--leaving us with an empty arena.
I know it doesn't sound great to promote yourself as a "Minor League City"--but it's sure better than being a "no league city".