Wisconsinites not as comfortable with sporting events as bars and restaurants, polling shows

NOW: Wisconsinites not as comfortable with sporting events as bars and restaurants, polling shows

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Fans have been back in a limited capacity at Fiserv Forum, and surrounding businesses are already feeling the positive impact.

“We’ve seen a good amount of foot traffic," Cream City Concepts Branding Director Jack Roman said of a number of Deer District businesses his organization owns. "Definitely an increase, and I’ve seen Bucks jerseys again, which is great to see. I've started seeing one of my season ticket regulars I hadn't seen in a long time.”

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce said those fans help the Bucks too, but a couple thousand fans will not be enough to support the Bucks or Brewers forever.

“Both teams are struggling financially in this environment, so the more fans, the more interest, the more spending, helps unlock the economics,” MMAC President Tim Sheehy said.

MMAC polling shows Wisconsinites do not feel comfortable at sporting events compared to some other activities.

Last March, 45 percent felt comfortable going to a restaurant. That has risen to 63 percent in February of 2021.

The percentage of people feeling comfortable going to a bar stayed about the same. In March of 2020, 43 percent of Wisconsinites felt comfortable at a bar, and 44 percent felt comfortable this month.

Over that same stretch, those comfortable going to a sports game has actually fallen from 36 to 33 percent.

Sheehy said that needs to be, and is, the Bucks' and Brewers' focus.

“You can’t get to second base if you don’t get to first base," Sheehy said. "So this is really an approach to get to first base to open things up.”

The MMAC also said the Brewers need more fans than the Bucks to make ends meet.

“The Bucks make a significant amount of revenue in the first ten rows of the stadium. So getting a smaller group back is more impactful financially than the Brewers, whose ticket prices are spread out much more across the stadium, and they're going to need a much larger fanbase to make an economic impact,” Sheehy said.

The Brewers sent the statement: "We have submitted our comprehensive health and safety plan to the City of Milwaukee Health Department to safely bring fans back to American Family Field. The plan is over 350 pages long and addresses every facet of our operation. Our plan calls for American Family Field to operate at a thirty-five percent capacity level, a level where we can comfortably maintain social distancing.

The plan was developed in consultation with a team of Brewers and Major League Baseball-affiliated medical professionals, which includes some of the top experts in developing health protocols. We know our fans are excited about returning to the ballpark. We also look forward to bringing back hundreds of our dedicated event staff."

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