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BMO Harris Bradley Center

Milwaukee, WI

Home of the Milwaukee Admirals

3.0

3.1

BMO Harris Bradley Center (map it)
1001 N 4th ST
Milwaukee, WI 53203


Milwaukee Admirals website

BMO Harris Bradley Center website

Year Opened: 1988

Capacity: 17,845

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Set Sail for a Good Hockey Experience

When one thinks of Milwaukee, the first thoughts that come to mind are cheese, beer, and bratwurst. Downtown Milwaukee has all three with a thriving restaurant, bar and sports scene. The Milwaukee Admirals call BMO Harris Bradley Center home and are in close proximity to everything downtown Milwaukee has to offer.

The Admirals franchise began play in 1970 as an amateur team. They have since played in the USHL, IHL and the AHL. They have won two titles, 1976 and 2004 to go with plenty of playoffs appearances. The Admirals have called the Bradley Center home since the building opened in 1988. They currently are affiliated with the Nashville Predators. It is interesting to note that Milwaukee and Nashville share affiliations with each other in the NHL and MLB.

3.0

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

Finding good food and beverage is never a problem in Milwaukee. The food and beverage selections inside BMO Harris Bradley Center have improved vastly in the past couple of years.

Unlike most areas where there are a lot of repeat stands around the concourses, the Bradley Center has different items scattered around the concourse. I would advise taking a lap around the arena before deciding on something. Some of the variety includes a loaded hot dog stand ($5.50), deli/carvery stations ($12.50), and a gluten free stand ($ varies). Other booths include: cheesesteaks ($9), Coldstone Creamery ice cream ($4), loaded nachos ($8), Saz's (a local restaurant), Qdoba ($8) and a roasted nut cart ($5-$7). I was disappointed to see the Saz's stand closed for this particular game. They are a local favorite and their menu looked great. A few smaller stands around the building were closed as well due to the smaller crowds for hockey games at the Bradley Center. Most of what's mentioned above was open (besides Saz's) but a few repeat booths were closed on this particular night. Buying food at arenas or stadiums is expensive but the quality of food here is worth the money you pay.

Basic food like hot dogs, brats and sandwiches run anywhere from $4.75-$6. Snacks such as pretzels, nachos and peanuts run between $3.25-$5. Pepsi products run between $4 for a 20 oz. and $5.75 for a large.

There are four bars/seating areas on the concourse for fans to gather around between periods or before the game. The Baseline Bar and Leinenkugel Lodge have plenty of television sets and seating. On this day, the televisions were tuned to various NHL and collegiate hockey games. Beer runs from $6.25 for a small to $7.75 for a large. Specialty beers will run anywhere from $7-$8. There is a craft beer booth on the lower concourse with various national and local craft beers. The variety of beers offered are impressive for an arena setting. Concourses here are wide open and easy to maneuver through.

Atmosphere    2

The Admirals have a dedicated fan base and average between 5,500-6,500 fans per game each year. Those numbers place Milwaukee in the upper half of the attendance leaders each season. The bad part.... they play in a 17,500-seat arena. The upper bowl is usually closed for most Admirals games. This is done to keep fans closer to the ice, give the appearance of a big crowd and help condense the number of areas to clean and look after. 6,500 fans in a smaller arena like the US Cellular Arena across the street would make the Admirals a much more intimidating home team.

One positive note about the abundance of empty seats at the Bradley Center: no bad seats for a hockey game. The lower bowl has a good seating pitch, plenty of legroom, and wide seats. If the upper bowl is open due to a weekend crowd, the seats are usually center ice or close to it.

The Admirals' staff does a great job keeping fans entertained throughout the game. There are various in-game contests/promotions including a beer can pyramid contest, scoreboard games and a pizza delivery to a lucky fan. One of the most unique and interesting contests I have seen is the rubber band bowling challenge after the second period. A few lucky fans have to sit on a sled and get slingshot across the ice. The purpose of this is to knock down the most pins for a prize. Other between-period entertainment includes: an air bubble race, darkened arena cell phone light up cheer and a youth hockey game. The Admirals have improved their focus on the youth teams playing time since the last review. They no longer show advertisements, play music, or give public address announcements during the kids' playing time.

The pregame experience here is unique. There is a ship that moves around the ice as a prop. Seven Nation Army plays over the intercom as the team is introduced.

Neighborhood    5

Milwaukee has lots of great options downtown for food and drink. There are dozens of restaurants and bars within a mile radius of the Bradley Center. There are lots of food options, but one can't visit Milwaukee without trying the local specialties. German food is very prevalent here as well as bratwurst, cheese curds, and other assorted meats.

For a true German food experience, try Maders, which is a half-mile walk to the Bradley Center on historic Old World 3rd St. On this street, you will feel as if you are in a German Village. For a slightly less expensive Milwaukee staple, try the Milwaukee Brat House. They have various brats and sausages served on a pretzel bun with your choice of potato salad or other deli favorites. For a truly unique experience, try the Safehouse. Tucked away a mile east of the Bradley Center, this former speak easy is a must see. This place is hidden under the name "International Exports Ltd." Once you walk in the door, you will be asked for the password. If you don't know it, you and your group are required to dance on camera before they let you in. Once inside, you find out that the patrons inside have been watching you the whole time and could hold up scoring cards like the Olympic figure skating judges. These restaurants can get packed on weekends or before games but are definitely worth it.

For residents of the Milwaukee metro or outlying cities, a trip downtown for dinner or a beer is a fun addition to seeing an Admirals game. For out-of-towners, it is a must in order to get the full experience. If coming from out of town, Milwaukee is one of the cheaper cities to stay in. There are quite a few nice hotels downtown that are discounted if there are no festivals going on that weekend.

Downtown Milwaukee is a very walkable city. There is a scenic river walk downtown, a lakefront walking path, and other sights to look at or visit while downtown.

Fans    3

The atmosphere here at the BMO Harris Bradley Center isn't as loud as other AHL arenas, but it isn't because the fans here aren't as passionate. There are more jerseys per capita here than any other hockey arena I have been to. A good variety of jerseys as well; most look like special jerseys worn once or twice and then auctioned off.

The fans here are knowledgeable and into the game. Chants and cheers are well timed. After every good play that the Admirals make, fans shake their cowbells. When the opposing team is introduced, various chants such as "Sieve!" and "Who cares?" are heard. Also, the crowd at times will chant the opposing goaltender's name followed by a "You suck!" and cowbell shaking. The southern end of the seating bowl seems to have more passionate supports and chants than the northern end, although there are no fan clubs here that I am aware of.

Access    3

The BMO Harris Bradley Center is fairly easy to get to from I-94, I-43, and I-794. Traffic near the Bradley Center typically isn't too congested, as it is on the northwestern tip of downtown. There are plenty of access points for easy highway access to and from the Bradley Center.

Parking near the stadium will set you back between $8-$12 dollars in a ramp or lot. Parking can be had for free on the weekends, but watch out for the street signs when you park. Some places downtown charge on the weekends and some don't. Free parking can be had a few blocks of the Bradley Center on the weekends depending on which street.

Return on Investment    2

Tickets here run from $19-$25 and seem high for a minor league hockey game. The Admirals feature a concert series after various games throughout the year and have had some big names such as Dierks Bentley and Gavin DeGraw in the past. The Admirals give out free game programs, which is a plus. Taking a family here for a game and food/drinks can lighten your wallet or purse quickly. There are deals to be had if you check the Admirals website in advance. For a few select games, free Admirals tickets can be had with the purchase of Milwaukee Brewers tickets. Another good occasional promo is an Admiral ticket and an admission to the Harley Davidson museum for $20. Without one of the deals, the amount you spend on a ticket doesn't add up to the experience you get.

Extras    2

The variety of food options in the arena or outside are a big plus. Seeing the history of the Admirals as well as the Milwaukee Bucks and Marquette basketball banners is nice to see.

Final Thoughts

If played in a small arena with slightly cheaper ticket prices, the Admirals could be a big hit in Milwaukee. The BMO Harris Bradley Center is too big for the Admirals and the experience takes a hit because of it. The food and drink options are NHL-quality, as are the passionate fans who show up each night. The problem is, not enough fans show up each night and the atmosphere lacks because of it. Despite all of this, the Admirals are worthy of a look and who knows, you may get hooked!

Been waiting for this one! Curious to see how Peoria compares!

by profan9 | Apr 05, 2011 01:00 PM

Don\'t like the logo

When did they start with the skull motif? Are they trying to appeal to kids or the goth crowd? I remember seeing the old skating admiral when they came to Utah. What was wrong with that?

by dmortimer | Apr 05, 2011 02:09 PM

Logo

They've had the current logo since 2006, although fans were definitely wearing jerseys from several eras at the game I attended. I prefer the non-skull logo as well from their IHL days.

by paul | Apr 06, 2011 07:05 AM

C'mon ... the leg and foot as the hockey stick ... That's Awesome! Way better than little Napoleon!

by profan9 | Apr 06, 2011 11:43 AM

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Crowd Reviews

There were only how many?

Total Score: 3.29

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 1

The Bradley Center is definitley too big for AHL hockey, but they aren't the only team in this situation. What surprised me the most were the fans. When I went there were only 5,000 in attendance, which isn't bad for the AHL, but they sure sounded like 10,000!
Any time a team plays 3rd or 4th fiddle in a building there are going to be atmosphere problems. Not much dedication to the minor league team in terms of signage and pictures. The video board is absolutely gorgeous however and they do what they can with what they've got. Have to give an extra point for one of the coolest logos ever.
Overall the Admirals provide a product that is better than most AHL experiences that I have had. If I have to choose between a nice bright building that is too big, or a dank, dark building that is smaller, I will go with the big one each time.
Kudos to the Admirals fans who made my trip fun!

BMO Harris Bradley Center: Set sail for a good hockey experience

Total Score: 3.00

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 2
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 2
  • Extras: 2

When one thinks of Milwaukee, the first thoughts that come to mind are cheese, beer, and bratwurst. Downtown Milwaukee has all three with a thriving restaurant, bar and sports scene. The Milwaukee Admirals call BMO Harris Bradley Center home and are in close proximity to everything downtown Milwaukee has to offer.

The Admirals franchise began play in 1970 as an amateur team. They have since played in the USHL, IHL and the AHL. They have won two titles, 1976 and 2004 to go with plenty of playoffs appearances. The Admirals have called the Bradley Center home since the building opened in 1988. They currently are affiliated with the Nashville Predators. It is interesting to note that Milwaukee and Nashville share affiliations with each other in the NHL and MLB.

Share your thoughts about BMO Harris Bradley Center

Local Food & Drink

Old German Beer Hall  (map it!)

1009 N Old World 3rd St

Milwaukee, WI 53203

(414) 226-2728

http://www.oldgermanbeerhall.com/

Mader's  (map it!)

1037 N Old World 3rd St

Milwaukee, WI 53203

(414) 271-3377

http://www.madersrestaurant.com/

Milwaukee Brat House  (map it!)

1013 N Old World 3rd St

Milwaukee, WI 53203

(414) 273-8709

http://www.milwaukeebrathouse.com/

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