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Evers wants $10M large event funds released for NFL draft grants

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(The Center Square) – Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is asking the Joint Committee on Finance to release $10 million in large event funds to spend on events such as the 2025 NFL Draft in Green Bay.

The funds were an Opportunity Attraction and Promotion Fund as part of the state’s biennial 2023-2025 budget to be administered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

If the funds are released by the Joint Committee on Finance, the WEDC board – with advisement from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism – will create requirements for applicants to the fund.

“From the Ice Age Trail officially being designated a national park and the NFL draft coming to Wisconsin in 2025 to the new Amtrak Borealis Train connecting St. Paul to Chicago straight through central Wisconsin, we’re doing big things here in the Badger State,” Evers said in a statement. “We want to continue growing our tourism industry and investing in one of our state’s largest economic engines by promoting Wisconsin as a major destination for some of our country’s largest events.”

Evers says the funds are intended to be used “to assist communities with the costs of major events, such as the upcoming NFL draft in Green Bay.”

Evers touted the benefits of hosting the NFL draft along with claims on the economic impact of tourism in the state from the marketing firm Tourism Economics.

Economists continue to be skeptical and provide data that shows Tourism Economics’ claims are incorrect.

Wisconsin’s biennial budget also included a $34 million increase in funding for marketing and advertising for the Department of Tourism. Evers said that $3 million of that will be spent on grants to Discover Green Bay and Visit Milwaukee during the 2025 NFL draft and 2024 Republican National Convention.

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