Major League Baseball is already looking at the potential for one relocation in the near future as the Oakland A’s look to secure their new home in Las Vegas.
It could be willing to threaten another relocation if stadium upgrades are not made in Milwaukee.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was in Milwaukee this week to put pressure on local officials to secure funding for repairs to American Family Field.
The Brewers’ lease at the ballpark expires after the 2030 season, but Manfred said it is still essential for funding to be approved in a timely manner. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he used the A’s situation as a cautionary tale for what could happen if stadium issues continue to linger.
It is estimated that the stadium needs $448 million in work over the next 20 years, including $290 million in work that is to be included in the state’s budget between 2023 and 2025 if it can be approved.
The bulk of those repairs are to include “architecture and interiors” and would include repairs on the glass panels in the outfield, replacing seats, luxury suite upgrades, concourse replacements and retail space.
The priority is for the Brewers to remain in Milwaukee, where they have played since 1970, but Major League Baseball is making its point very clear: Fix the stadium, or we could move your team.
The current stadium opened in 2001, replacing the old Milwaukee County Stadium, so it is not really that old. However, 25-30 years tend to be the shelf life for stadiums and for teams (and leagues) to start rattling cages to either get major renovations done or new stadiums built with public money.
The Texas Rangers recently built a new stadium after 25 years at the Ballpark in Arlington, while the Atlanta Braves spent just 19 years at Turner Field before building a new stadium.
The days of stadiums lasting the way Wrigley Field and Fenway Park have are long gone. They do not seem to be returning anytime soon.