May. 30, 2016
Bucks to Get D-League Franchise
Not every team in the NBA has a D-League affiliate, and the last one that remained independent, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, became an affiliate of the Indiana Pacers in 2015. That left a handful of teams without a team, but now the Milwaukee Bucks are no longer one of those teams. Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a city of about 60,000 people, beat out in state cities Racine, Sheboygan, Appleton and La Crosse. I'm not sure why Madison, 72 miles to the west of the Bradley Center, did not put in a bid. Maybe it's because the Badgers trump the Bucks in the state of Wisconsin at this point, maybe they didn't want the Kohl Center to have yet another team that has to play 30 games or so there, but it's not like Madison doesn't have other facilities (Alliant Energy Center, for example).
Of those five, however, Oshkosh and Racine are the ones that made the most sense. Oshkosh is in an hour and a half north of Milwaukee, and is relatively close to relatively large cities in Green Bay, Appleton and Fond du Lac. Appleton has a minor league baseball team, so it seems fair to give Oshkosh something too. The name of the team is still to be decided, and I honestly have no idea what they are thinking of calling it (maybe they will be the Oshkosh Bucks, no idea at all).
I thought Racine was the destination, after Madison, that made the most sense to me. For one, Racine is just a half hour away, is bigger than Oshkosh overall, and has Kenosha and the greater Milwaukee area in the general vicinity. Racine is also the city dealing with the most economic hardship in the state, and while adding a D-League team to the city won't do a whole lot for Racine, it will be a start. Having the ability to watch players like Thon Maker and Rashad Vaughn in your hometown for a much cheaper price than going to the BMO Harris Bradley Center and watching the Bucks is a decent gimmick, and could help any small city.
The biggest reason Racine lost, however, is because Oshkosh has a new 3,500 seat stadium that I'm sure Racine was not willing to build. Although Racine had plans for an arena, Oshkosh actually went through with it and built it. The stadium will be ready in time for the 2017-18 NBA season, and is likely going to host the Bucks in a preseason game as its' opener. The professional team's new arena will be ready in time for 2018-19, as of December, 2016.