The Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was built through the generosity of the late Jane Bradley Pettit in memory of her father, Harry Lynde Bradley. Bradley was a co-founder and chairman of the Allen-Bradley Company. The Bradley Center is the only major, public assembly facility in North America with construction underwritten through the philanthropy of a single family. Its construction and continuing operation represent a gift to all the people of the State of Wisconsin.
Ground breaking for the Bradley Center began in October 1986 and opened in October 1988. The first game played at the Bradley Center was the Edmonton Oilers vs. Chicago Blackhawks on October 1, 1988. The Bradley Center is home to four sports tenants: the NBA Milwaukee Bucks, the AHL Milwaukee Admirals, the Marquette University Golden Eagles (NCAA) men’s basketball team and the Milwaukee Iron: AF2 Arena Football team. The facility hosts an estimated 2 million people each year and continues to be the No. 1 entertainment destination in Downtown Milwaukee.
DESIGN AND SITE ISSUES
The Center accommodates 18,600 attendees for basketball, 17,800 for hockey and up to 20,000 for concerts, with a total area of 550,000 square feet. Design emphasis was placed on flexibility—for the fans comfort, the designers increased the space between the rows; but the increased seating capacity and extra seating space in the three-level building was not added to the detriment of sightlines. Suites are located on the second of three levels. Fans reach the three concourses via 16 escalators and two elevators. In addition, there are 12 permanent concession stands and a variety of portable stands, four merchandise stands and 24 public restrooms. The site is approximately six acres and is located across the street from and just north of the Wisconsin Center District.
Each year the Bradley Center hosts approximately 150 events, including sporting events, community programs, family shows, concerts by top entertainers and more. The three teams that occupy the Center give the Bradley Center a solid core of sports events. The Bradley Center also gives Milwaukee an advantage in attracting national or international sporting events, such as NCAA basketball tournaments.