Saturday was a busy night in downtown Milwaukee, as two sports teams played right across the street from each other.
For the Milwaukee Admirals, it was a new era in team history. After 28 years of playing at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, the Admirals have a new home at the UWM Panther Arena. The change brings a new sense of pride for season ticket holder Benjamin Bush.
"It’s a little bit of a smaller size but it makes the crowds feel bigger, the crowds feel louder,” said Bush.
For Chicagoan Stacy Lucier, an out-of-towner’s perspective also brings high praise.
"It’s a great space, lots of concession stands, it’s easy to get in and out,” she said.
"We have a little more control over the things that we had in the past,” said Admirals President Jon Greenberg.
Greenberg says the venue swap took a year-long $6.3 million transformation to boost the fan and player experience for the long hall.
“We want to make sure we secure our future and so we’ve got a ten year lease to play here in the Milwaukee Panther Arena and hopefully it’s going to be a magical ten years,” he said.
The biggest concern in the home-opener wasn’t turnout, rather competition across the street. Greenberg says management knew parting would be tough Saturday, so they started an hour before the Bucks game to help their fans out.
"There’s one parking garage over there that I usually park at, it’s actually closed down to construction,” said Bucks fan Javier Jimenez.
More than 10,000 Bucks fans like Jimenez fought for parking spots with 7,000 Admirals.
"I was wondering why there was so much park for a Bucks game against the Nets,” said Jimenez.
With inevitable congestion along State Street, fans say a mild evening and adrenaline to carry into the game always outweighs a little inconvenience.
"Even when it does get cold out, hey, we’re Wisconsinites,” added Bush.
Fans we spoke with say their walk to the games took between 10 to 20 minutes. Parking cost them anywhere from $15 to $25.