MILWAUKEE -- Fiserv Forum officially opened its doors to the public Sunday, Aug. 26, following a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on the plaza outside the downtown arena.
The ceremony was attended by current Bucks' players Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, Bucks' alumni Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Vin Baker, Marques Johnson, Jon McGlocklin, Steve Novak and Michael Redd, Bucks' owners Wes Edens, Marc Lasry, Jamie Dinan and Mike Fascitelli, Bucks' General Manager Jon Horst, Bucks' Head Coach Mike Budenholzer, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton, Fiserv President and CEO Jeff Yabuki and Bucks' President Peter Feigin.
Former Bucks' owner Senator Herb Kohl was honored by the Bucks for his 29-year stewardship of the team with the naming of Herb Kohl Way for the block in front of Fiserv Forum.
According to a news release from Bucks' officials, the ribbon-cutting ceremony was held next to a world record-breaking welcome mat greeting fans with the event’s “Welcome Home” theme. The 92-feet long by 24-feet wide mat was verified by a Guinness World Records judge as the largest vinyl floor mat.
After the ceremony, more than 50,000 people were expected to tour Fiserv Forum.
The Fiserv Forum is the new home of the Milwaukee Bucks and Marquette men’s basketball team. It will also host a variety of programming -- 24 events have already been announced for the venue’s first year -- including concerts, family shows and other sports and entertainment events.
"The Killers" will perform the grand opening concert at Fiserv Forum with Milwaukee natives Violent Femmes on Sept. 4.
According to the release, Fiserv Forum will seat 17,500 for basketball and up to 18,000 for concerts, with incomparable sightlines from all vantage points. The arena has three clubs, including the BMO Club, Mezzanine Club and Panorama Club, which is on the highest level of the building and features an outdoor terrace with sweeping views of Milwaukee’s skyline. Premium seating in Fiserv Forum includes 34 private suites, West Bend Lofts and more than 800 club seats.
Fiserv Forum offers state-of-the-art technology, with more than 300 distributed antenna systems and 16 wireless access zones to allow for high-speed connectivity throughout the arena. Daktronics outfitted the arena with over 12,000 square feet of video displays, including the centerhung scoreboard, which is more than 3,900 square-feet, making it the largest equilateral centerhung display in the NBA. Fiserv Forum also contains more than 800 high-definition flat screen televisions.
Fiserv Forum is redefining the culinary experience for a sports and entertainment venue by implementing MKEat, a dynamic, locally-focused food and beverage program. Led by Fiserv Forum Senior Executive Chef Kenneth Hardiman, and food and beverage provider Levy, MKEat features popular and diverse local culinary establishments throughout the venue’s 31 concession stands. Fiserv Forum also contains five expansive kitchens.
As a cultural center for the city, Fiserv Forum houses the Milwaukee Bucks' Art Collection, which includes 79 original pieces and 43 photographs, created by 32 artists, 22 of whom have Wisconsin ties. The Bucks collaborated with Sports & The Arts to secure an eclectic mix of artists and mediums.
Fiserv Forum includes four Pro Shops and one kiosk, giving fans convenient locations to purchase a wide-selection of official Bucks' gear.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the new arena was held on June 18, 2016, with substantial completion of the building having occurred on July 31, 2018. Over 3,800 craft workers spent two million total work hours building Fiserv Forum, with 76 percent of the contracts to build the venue completed with Wisconsin companies.
Fiserv Forum totals 730,000 square feet, stands 128 feet tall, and was built with more than 8,000 tons of structural steel. The sweeping north-side exterior façade of Fiserv Forum contains 80,440 square feet of zinc architectural panels.
Fiserv Forum was designed by world-renowned Populous, and Wisconsin-based Eppstein Uhen Architects and HNTB. The owner’s representative for the project was CAA ICON, and the construction manager was Mortenson. M-E Engineers was the mechanical engineer and the structural engineers were HNTB and Walter P. Moore.
Fiserv, Inc. was announced as the naming rights partner for the arena on July 26, 2018. Founding partners for Fiserv Forum are BMO Harris Bank, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Johnson Controls and Miller Brewing Company.
Below is reaction to the grand opening from Bucks' officials and others, via the release:
Milwaukee Bucks Co-Owners Wes Edens, Marc Lasry, Jamie Dinan and Mike Fascitelli
“The opening of Fiserv Forum marks an incredible moment for this community. In the four years that we’ve had the privilege of being stewards of the Bucks, the opening of this world-class venue serves as our proudest achievement. Fiserv Forum will be the sporting and cultural heart of Milwaukee, welcoming the very best in sports and entertainment to Wisconsin. We’d like to thank Senator Herb Kohl for his extraordinary contribution to this arena, and to recognize the city, county and state leaders who were committed to this project. As we open the doors today, we also want to express appreciation to the dedicated workers who spent much time and energy in making Fiserv Forum a place that we can all be proud of.”
Milwaukee Bucks Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo
“My teammates and I are extremely grateful to everyone who played a role in building our amazing new home - Fiserv Forum. Every detail is incredible for the players and the fans. We are excited to start the season and play in front of our fantastic home crowd in the NBA’s best arena!”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
“Congratulations to the Bucks’ ownership group and the entire Milwaukee community on the opening of the incredible Fiserv Forum. It’s a shining example of what a public-private partnership can accomplish and, most importantly, provides the Bucks and their fans a well-deserved, world-class venue. As we celebrate this major milestone in the Bucks’ storied history, let me also recognize the vision of Herb Kohl, without whose commitment and generosity this project would not have happened.”
Former Bucks Owner and Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl
“Today is a great day for our state. This beautiful, modern building will be used and enjoyed by millions of people. I’m proud to have been part of the process and congratulate the Milwaukee Bucks and our entire community. Let this day be the first of many future celebrations in the new arena.”
“Fiserv Forum, the Bucks’ new home, is a big deal for Wisconsin and specifically for Milwaukee. Because of the way we structured the deal, the state will receive an actual return of $2.99 for every dollar in the project. This is one of the reasons we could bring Democrats and Republicans together from all over the state to support our plan. It will help revitalize downtown Milwaukee, and at a time when more people are working in Wisconsin than ever before, we need more reasons to attract talent to the state. A new arena and an exciting team will help attract and retain prospective employees. It’s a slam dunk!”
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele
“It’s incredible to remember that, until a couple years ago, Park East was basically vacant. The fact that we now have a spectacular, world-class arena here will continue to have an enormous impact on our community. This arena means millions of dollars in our local economy, thousands of jobs and fantastic entertainment options, including our own Milwaukee Bucks. I’m beyond excited to see Fiserv Forum officially open, and I remain deeply proud of the role Milwaukee County played in making this project a reality.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett
“Milwaukee is a major league city. Fiserv Forum, with its modern amenities and thoughtful design, and the Bucks’ presence in Milwaukee affirm that. The Bucks organization has had, and I’m certain will continue to have a major impact on Milwaukee. We’re confident Fiserv Forum will lead to new development in adjacent and nearby neighborhoods. We have already seen new activity at the Brewery, along Old World Third Street and in Haymarket. Bronzeville to the north and neighborhoods to the west will also see a positive impact.”
Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton
“As the new Fiserv Forum has risen to change both the landscape and skyline of Milwaukee it presents an opportunity for us to visualize this new structure as an example of what can happen citywide. When shared destiny and common ground come together anything is possible. Multifaceted collaborations like this are what we need to build the future.”