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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

American Family Field to get a $4.6 million broadcast upgrade. It will bring sharper video images

By Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,


Milwaukee Brewers fans will get much sharper video images displayed at American Family Field − and through TV broadcasts of games − thanks to a $4.6 million project being done by the ballpark's publicly financed owner.

But the decision to spend that money was approved over some opposition at a time when larger public financing issues for the ballpark are looming.

The cash is coming from a fund for the ballpark's major capital improvements − which are largely the responsibility of the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District.

The district's Finance Committee and Operations Committee both voted Friday to approve the project, which is to be completed in time for the opening of the 2024 season.

The work will include upgrades to video production equipment, video cameras and other broadcast equipment.

Much of that equipment is aging. The upgrades will result in much sharper images, said Patrick Goss, district executive director.

"It'll be spectacular," he said.

The images are displayed at American Family Field. They also are shared with Bally Sports Wisconsin , which owns TV broadcast rights for Brewers games.

The project ties in with district's plans to spend $6.45 million to replace the ballpark's main scoreboard. That will include a much larger video display board.

The scoreboard project was approved by the committees at their May 25 meeting on a pair of 5-1 votes.

The only "no" vote was from Mark McCune, who resigned later that day without comment after serving 15 years on the board.

On Friday, the Operations Committee voted 5-0 to approve the broadcast equipment project.

The Finance Committee voted 3-2 to approve it − with Doug Stansil, committee chair, and Karen Makoutz, vice chair, both in opposition.

Makoutz couldn't immediately be reached after the meeting.

Stansil told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he voted against the project because it will require the district to sell bonds to raise cash − bringing an estimated investment loss of $380,000 as well as an additional loss of more than $160,000 from foregone interest earnings.

The project could have been delayed a year to help reduce that loss, he said. But that would have to be weighed against the possible increase in project costs tied to inflation, Stansil said.

The decision comes as state officials continue to discuss a request by the Brewers to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on American Family Field's long-term major improvements.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has proposed a $290 million payment for American Family Field. It would be combined with the $70 million already set aside by the stadium district, along with interest earnings, to pay for $448 million in renovations over 20 years.

In return, the Brewers would extend the lease from the end of 2030 to the end of 2043. The Evers administration says the ball club over 20 years would generate an estimated $400 million in state income and sales taxes.

A report commissioned by the Brewers, and reviewed by a consultant hired by the Wisconsin Department of Administration, provides details on how that $448 million, which includes an inflation contingency, would be spent.

Republican legislative leaders have acknowledged those tax benefits and have expressed a willingness to approve more funding for the ballpark.

But Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has said the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County should provide some funding − which local officials say they cannot afford . And both Republican and Democratic legislators have said they want the Brewers lease extended beyond 2043.

Tom Daykin can be emailed at and followed on Instagram , Twitter and Facebook .

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: American Family Field to get a $4.6 million broadcast upgrade. It will bring sharper video images

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