Bridges, a high-rise building, The Hop and the Milwaukee River will all wear team's colors for the playoffs.

The Milwaukee Bucks, who hold the top seed in the National Basketball Association playoffs, will start the first round of the playoffs this Sunday against the Detroit Pistons.

This footbridge over the Milwaukee River Downtown has a warning for Detroit Pistons fans. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Bucks

And all those Pistons fans who come to town will likely “fear the deer” as soon as they set foot in the redecorated Downtown as Milwaukee prepares to celebrate its basketball team in the best way yet – including with a Bucks-green river flowing through the center of town.

Dustin Godsey, chief marketing officer for the Milwaukee Bucks, says this is the first time in almost two decades Milwaukee has had home-court advantage in the playoffs.

“Being the number one team in the NBA Playoffs and finding different things to launch citywide to have everyone be a part of is just exciting,” Godsey says.


Here’s what’s in store for Downtown:

1) BMO meets the Deer

On Friday, the BMO Harris Bank, which the Bucks describe as their official bank, will light a “Fear the Deer” decal on its 18-story office tower at 770 N. Water St. The decal will be installed on the west-facing window (not far from the Fiserv Forum across the Milwaukee River). It will remain lit throughout the first round of the playoffs.

2) The river goes green

The Milwaukee River will then turn green on Friday in celebration of the playoffs. Sure, Chicago does this for St. Patrick ’s Day, but Milwaukeeans haven’t seen this in their city yet. What better way to see the famous river a new hue than to celebrate for the Bucks’? Hilary Dickinson, manager of communications for the Bucks, says the team coordinated the color makeover with the state Department of Natural Resources, so it’s eco-friendly.

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3) Deer Hops

Later Friday morning, one of The Hop streetcars will be get a new interior and exterior Bucks playoff branding. Bucks mascot Bango, along with the Bucks Entertainment Network, will be surprising businesses along The Hop’s route and will continue to do so throughout the playoffs. Mayor Tom Barrett and Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry will make an appearance at the unveiling of the streetcar next to the Milwaukee Public Market in the Third Ward around 11:50 a.m.

4) Skywalks to be playoff branded

Two sky bridges will be wrapped with playoff branding Friday. Both are attached to the building at 100 E. Wisconsin Ave. — one over Water Street and one over the Milwaukee River. From the bridges, you can get a Buck’s-eye view of the river’s new hue.

5) The biggest party for the biggest fans

Extensive activities are planned for the first round of the playoffs, include watch parties on the plaza in front of Fiserv Forum. There will even be all-fan giveaways. There are still tickets available to catch first-round games, but they are extremely limited, the Bucks say.

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