Oshkosh is the wisest choice for the Milwaukee Bucks as a host community of the team’s in-state D-League program, and it simply comes down to two key arguments: population and location.
Most spectators of the NBA are likely to travel about 45 miles to the game. Some will travel more, especially for a key matchup, but the vast majority likely travel less than 45 miles to the game.
For an organization considering expansion, they will want to ensure that their D-League team doesn’t compete with their main show. They will want a community that is far enough away so that the 45 mile zones of the main show (Bucks) doesn’t really overlap with their D-League show, as they would be over saturating the region and creating unnecessary competition.
Kenosha falls within Milwaukee’s 45 mile radius, sitting about 40 miles south. Racine, at just 30 miles away, is also part of the Milwaukee zone. Wauwatosa, West Allis, New Berlin, Brookfield, and Waukesha are also all a part of the Milwaukee zone, which is the largest in Wisconsin at just shy of 2 million people.
The Madison-Baraboo area is the state’s second largest region at a population just over 800,000. Madison, which is already home of the Wisconsin Badgers, has not been a target of the Bucks organization.
The next most populous region in the state is the Oshkosh-Neenah-Appleton-Fond du Lac region, which is home to nearly 450,000. The majority of the population is connected by highway 41. The location is such that all of the urban areas of the Oshkosh region are outside of the Buck’s 45 mile zone, but remain close enough for efficient connection to the main organization with all areas within this region less than a 2 hour drive from Milwaukee.
Sheboygan is the other announced community in consideration, and they feature similar location benefits as Oshkosh, with highway 43 connecting the area with an hour drive. The Sheboygan area includes the communities of Manitowoc and many smaller rural communities. Fond du Lac could be added to the region, as could West Bend (though West Bend’s 33,000 people are within the 45 mile region of the Buck’s home). Sheboygan sits with a declining population of 49,000, and adding the other communities brings this entire region (including West Bend) to around 175,000, not half of the Oshkosh region’s population.
Of the community finalists, only Oshkosh genuinely expands the geographic presence of the Buck’s organization into the state, as it is the only community in consideration not tucked along Lake Michigan in the south western section of the state.
When considering state expansion of the brand presence, population is key. Location is also key, both in proximity to the home site and in connecting with the broader state. Oshkosh features the right population and location for the Buck’s D-League expansion in Wisconsin.