A short history of Fiserv Forum, which has its grand opening on Aug. 26, 2018.
The Milwaukee Bucks’ new home, Fiserv Forum, has been open for more than a month, and on Wednesday night fans will finally see its primary use — for a basketball game.
The Bucks expect a sellout for their first preseason game against the Chicago Bulls. In addition to seeing the first game in the new arena, fans will get a look at Jabari Parker, the former Buck who signed with Chicago in the off-season.
But they’ll have to focus on basketball, because the spectacle that typically surrounds an NBA game won’t be on full display. The bells and whistles are being held back for the regular season opener Oct. 19.
“It’ll be very much a bare-bones show,” said Dustin Godsey, the Bucks’ chief marketing officer.
“Traditionally, we hold back some of our content and some of the things we do in a normal game.”
“For instance, we’ll hold back the full intro video for the player introductions,” Godsey said.
The star Wednesday will be the arena’s seating bowl that brings fans closer to the action.
It’s a far different experience than at the Bucks’ old home, the Bradley Center. The lower bowl in the new arena has the majority of the seats, the opposite of the Bradley Center.
The team believes Fiserv Forum crowd noise will be louder, directed down onto the court, and more of a home court factor than ever. But they won’t know for sure until people are in the seats.
“That’s one of the great unknowns for us,” Godsey said. “What’s the overall energy and how do we keep it up.”
Fans will also find the “transparency” of the building on full display. The can see much of the action from the concourses and their views won’t be shielded by the curtains that have been pulled closed during recent concerts to reduce crowd noise and distractions.
But for the most part, just as it will be for the players, Wednesday’s game will be a dress rehearsal for the in-game production.
The new arena has some 800 television monitors and other new tools that the team will use to engage and interact with fans inside the arena.
“We’re going to do a lot more with social and interactive to pull fans into the game without always having someone different running out onto the court,” Godsey said.
“This whole building was built for the fan experience.”