Bucks owner Herb Kohl is considering adding to the team's ownership group in hopes of building a new arena that he said is ''imperative'' for the team's future in Milwaukee.
Kohl said Monday he has hired a firm to help in the search for new partners, and that if any new partners are added, they will be committed to keeping the team in Milwaukee.
That means a new arena to replace the 25-year-old BMO Harris Bradley Center, also home to Marquette basketball and the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL.
''In addition to committed ownership, it is imperative that we get to a new 21st century sports and entertainment facility in a timely manner, not only for the Bucks but also for the more than 1.5 million visitors who attend nearly 200 events held there each year,'' Kohl said in a statement.
Kohl, who recently retired after years as a U.S. senator, bought the Bucks in 1985. They are a team that's frequently a candidate for a move because of the age of their arena, but Commissioner David Stern said Kohl's decision shows he is dedicated to preventing that.
''With this announcement, Sen. Kohl continues his mission: to assure continuity of Bucks ownership by broadening its ownership base, and assuring that the fans of Wisconsin will enjoy NBA basketball and other events in a new state-of-the-art facility,'' Stern said.
Kohl and Stern both said Kohl bought the team with the goal of keeping it in Milwaukee, and that remains a priority now.
''We are proud to be an NBA city,'' Kohl said. ''We are very grateful to our fans and business partners who support us. I am especially proud of the extraordinary people in the Bucks organization who work tirelessly to deliver a good product and great entertainment.''
Allen & Co. has been retained to help Kohl with the search.