MILWAUKEE -- It's been a whirlwind week at the Fiserv Forum -- as the arena opens its doors to the public for the first time and makes its pitch to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Milwaukee is the smallest metro area of the three finalists to host the DNC; Miami and Houston are also in the mix.
"The Fiserv forum is the crown jewel of the recruitment pitch. We think it’s the best arena in the country," said Alex Lasry, bid chair, Bucks Vice President.
City officials are promising a huge economic boost if the city wins the convention. But landing the event will require tens of millions of dollars in local fundraising.
The Milwaukee Bucks put DNC graphics in all of the monitors at Fiserv Forum so the search committee didn't have to imagine what the arena would look like for the July 13-16, 2020 convention.
"Over 50,000 people are going to be coming to the convention and that’s always been a rumor, that Milwaukee is too small and doesn’t have enough hotel rooms. One of the things we’ve been able to show by bringing them here – is that Milwaukee is capable of housing everyone that comes," said Lasry.
The new arena, which opened Sunday, is a key part of the city's pitch. Mayor Tom Barrett is also selling the proximity of the Wisconsin Center, UWM Panther Arena, and Miller High Life Theatre as meeting spaces within walking distance of Fiserv Forum.
"We’ve got Good City Brewing right across the street from the Fiserv Forum, we have punch bowl social and a beer garden that are going to be all within a 30 second walk and just right outside the arena. Not to mention everything going on on Old World Third and going further south toward the convention center," said Lasry.
The search committee was in Houston recently, and will go to Miami next month.
Jaime Harrison, the DNC's associate chair, predicted that the 2020 convention would be "the most important in a generation."
"We want to make sure that the cities that we work with can really help us with the back end component so that we can spend our time and attention to what the viewers are seeing -- the speeches and all of those components," Harrison said.