Milwaukee's new downtown arena is a big money generator for the state
A few corrections:
- It was the NBA itself that was demanding the arena/move (and hoping for the latter). Indeed, that the team would be moved if a new arena was not built was written into the NBA's acceptance of the sale from Herb Kohl to Wes Edens and Marc Lasry.
- The $250 million was the cap on government/quasi-government involvement, not Edens'/Lasry's involvement. They were on the hook if the project went over budget.
- $500,000 of $4,000,000 is 12.5%, not 25%.
Your analysis also doesn't cover the city's and county's contributions. While the city and county contributed less than the state and the convention district (which is in a bit of a cash crunch itself as it had to delay once again the final phase of the convention center), they have no real source of compensation because there is (thankfully) no local income tax and the land is exempt from property taxes.
The true uniqueness of the Bucks/Fiserv Forum situation is not how it was structured (though that the ownership group and not government would be responsible for overruns was unique); it was the guarantee from the sports league of a move rather than a mere threat from the ownership.