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The Milwaukee Brewers apparently need to make upgrades to their stadium, and fast.
That’s according to a new report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.
The report claims that Manfred is currently in town to hold a press conference. Manfred’s expected to discuss the state of American Family Field, the Brewers’ home, and what should be done to fix it.
At the press conference, he’s expected to explain that the team need to commit to $400+ million in upgrades to the aging building.
And threaten them with potential relocation if they don’t agree to get a plan finalized.
The Brewers current lease runs through 2030, with a new lease associated with the improvements extending the agreement through 2043.
American Family Field, formerly Miller Park, opened in 2001, with only minor changes made in 2011.
But Manfred wants the Brewers to improve seating areas, concourses and other public spaces. Upgrades would keep the stadium competitive, potentially avoiding another Oakland A’s situation.
Could Brewers Actually Be Forced To Relocate?
According to the Journal Sentinel, it’s certainly possible that relocation could be dangled as a potential consequence to inaction.
But it’s perhaps more likely that Manfred uses that as a stick meant to spur ownership into securing public funding.
Given the stadium situation in St. Petersburg with the Tampa Bay Rays and the debacle in Oakland, Manfred could be looking to get out in front of future issues in Milwaukee.
MLB has discussed potential expansion efforts, but has been clear that they’d like to get relocation issues settled first.
Nashville, Austin and Charlotte are potential destinations for a future team, but could they poach the Brewers instead?
Milwaukee isn’t a particularly large or growing market, but does have a long history with professional baseball. And team ownership might be extremely resistant to a move.
But MLB wants to give fans every reason possible to attend games in person. New pace of play rules, encouraging players to display their emotions and of course, in-stadium amenities.
All are designed to keep fans interested in the game.
Manfred may be launching a warning shot with threats of relocation. But Brewers fans should hope it doesn’t become a more substantial threat.