Special Report: Behind the scenes look with Bucks President as Fiserv Forum celebrates six months open
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- It’s been exactly six months since officials cut the ribbon and opened the $524-million dollar Fiserv Forum. Since then, it’s hosted sold-out Bucks games, Marquette basketball and numerous concerts.
Walking into the soaring atrium still has a “wow factor.” Fans can tell it’s a different experience right away. For starters, it’s all digital. Fans don’t use a paper ticket to get in.
“People come in on mobile. People come in off their device. It's all off of scan codes,” said Milwaukee Bucks President, Peter Feigin.
That modern feeling continues throughout the arena. There’s a massive 4k screen, which Feigin describes as an “instagrammable moment.” It can be customized for any event, and people line up to take pictures. There’s also an often-photographed life-sized bobblehead for former Buck, Kareem Abdul-Jabar.
“There are really cool, interesting nooks and crannies all around the building,” Feigin said. “Real attention to details, redefining experiences like bathrooms.”
It’s all designed with fans in mind, and Feigin wasn’t kidding about the bathrooms. He took us inside the ladies’ room on the premium level.
“This could be the first interview we've done in a bathroom,” he said. “But we're so proud!”
He’s proud of the attention to detail inside. Fresh flowers sit in vases on the counter and the lighting is soft and flattering. Not at all what fans have come to expect from arenas.
Other details stand out, too. Near the BMO Club on the first level, a wall of reclaimed wood wraps around the hall. It’s one of many Wisconsin touches inside Fiserv Forum.
“This building was sourced about 85% from the steel fabrication to the precast cement to the reclaimed wood,” Feigin said.
And no detail is too small. Feigin pointed out wallpaper with a tiny logo in the pattern.
“This is our own customized wallpaper and you'll see wall finishings around the arena,” he said. “You'll see the detail. My wife still argues that I’m not allowed to have this in the house.”
Feigin’s pride in the Bucks’ new home is evident.
“This is one of the coolest things ever,” he said, walking towards a piece of art displayed on the premium level. “This is made by kids rolling basketballs.”
It’s just one piece out of a 300-piece custom art collection created for the building.
Fiserv Forum opened on August 26, 2018, so six months in, we asked Feigin for a report card on how the arena is doing.
“I think we're pleased, probably not satisfied, because it's such a big operation and we're doing so many event. We learn something every day,” he said.
What the organization is learning is being put to use to improve the fan experience. There is brand new steel tree with colorful LED globes lighting up the highest level. It wasn’t there on opening day, but it’s been turned into an open air candy lab that attracts kids of all ages.
“This is an example of kind of how you continue to kind of evolve and innovate,” Feigin said.
Fiserv Forum hosts events 200 nights a year. It’s hosted concerts and 23 sold out Bucks games, so far. On the afternoon CBS 58 came for a tour, a high school prep basketball game had taken over the court. Feigin said Fiserv Forum is for the entire community.
“It’s a great example of how we open this up for prep teams and high school teams,” he said.
Fiserv Forum also has breathtaking views of downtown Milwaukee. Feigin says there isn’t bad seat in the house, even from the Panorama Club, high up in the rafters.
“This is the coolest spot in the least desirable geographic area in the arena,” he said with a smile.
When asked, Feigin said he does think Fiserv Forum is playing a role in the Bucks’ successful season.
“There is a home court advantage like no other, in a new arena that's sold out that's standing room only,” he said.
That excitement drives the Bucks and fills seats with fans. Feigin has his eye on the details that keep fans coming back for more.