MILWAUKEE — Despite less than ideal weather, the Bucks say the Deer District will be fully open for tonight's Game 5.
Tarps were out and covering important technical equipment early Wednesday morning. Light rain slowly changed the color of the bricks on the walkway. It was followed by light winds coursing through the empty corridor outside of Fiserv Forum. In just a few hours, it will be packed with hundreds of fans who are too excited at the prospect of an Eastern Conference Finals berth to care about cold and rainy conditions.
"You can feel the energy in the city," said Katharine Foley with Punch Bowl Social. "Here at the Deer District and just in general."
Foley says the wacky spring weather hasn't deterred fans from coming out to enjoy the playoff atmosphere.
"It's shocking how many people turned out," Foley said. "Not as many outside in the living room, if you will. More people stayed inside but man, we were at full capacity."
The "living room," as Foley so eloquently calls it, is the outdoor space of the plaza. Fans packed the area to watch the Bucks dismantle the Detroit Pistons and, outside of game 1, do the same to the Boston Celtics. The energy transcends weather conditions as fans enjoy what is hopefully the beginning of a strong future in Milwaukee.
"To be able to have a year like this, go deep in the playoffs and really be able to show what this building is all about," said Dustin Godsey, Bucks chief marketing officer. "From everything outside to in, the atmosphere we have in this building has been really fun to see."
It's not just Godsey's eyes on Milwaukee, either. The outdoor plaza has shown off the best of Milwaukee to the nation. Fans come together to show that Milwaukee is not some mid-level city but it can compete with larger cities in all aspects.
"What's really fun for us is to be the spokespeople for Milwaukee and show what this city is about," Godsey said. "From the great fan base and the live cut-ins in the road games showing everyone out in mass in the beer garden on the plaza, to just being able to talk about Milwaukee. A guy like Giannis, who is one of the most popular players in the world, talking about his love for the city is huge. You see that in the number of acts coming through, the DNC next year but right now it's the Bucks on the global stage. That's what people want to see."
For fans heading to Fiserv Forum for the game, whether outside or inside, they can bring umbrellas in case of inclement weather. Outside on the plaza, all umbrellas are allowed for the watch party. However, if you have a ticket to the game, there are some stipulations to what you can bring. Umbrellas must be no longer than 12 inches. Umbrellas with pointed tips, golf umbrellas and multi-color umbrellas are not permitted inside the arena.
The Bucks will also be giving out two pairs of tickets to lucky fans outside on the plaza this evening starting at 5.