Fiserv Forum

The Bucks Season Begins … Without Fans

The Bucks will play their first home-court game on Christmas.

The Milwaukee Bucks will take the court at Fiserv Forum on Christmas Day, marking the first regular-season home game for the team since the coronavirus pandemic put an abrupt halt to last season’s NBA campaign in March.

The Bucks opened the 2020-21 season on Wednesday against the Celtics in Boston and will return to their home court on Friday for a matchup against the Golden State Warriors. Tip-off is set for 1:30 p.m.

This will be only the second time ever – and the first time in 42 years – that the Bucks have hosted a Christmas Day game. However, Milwaukee will be playing on Christmas for the third consecutive season. The Bucks lost 121-109 to the 76ers in Philadelphia last season. The previous season, Milwaukee beat the New York Knicks 109-95 in Madison Square Garden.

Fiserv Forum opened in August 2018 and the Bucks have routinely played in front of capacity crowds in the 17,341-seat facility. The pandemic forced the team to remain away from the sparkling arena until a pair of pre-season games earlier this month.

The Bucks previously announced that no fans will be allowed inside Fiserv Forum as the season gets underway.

The Bucks haven’t played a regular-season game at Fiserv since March 4 when they downed the Indiana Pacers 119-100. After a three-game road trip, the coronavirus pandemic then forced a shutdown of the NBA schedule that would last four months.

When the season resumed, the NBA shifted all games to a “bubble” environment at the Walt Disney World resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The Bucks were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs in September, losing to the Miami Heat. The team boycotted a first-round game against the Orlando Magic after the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha police officer and a summer of unrest stemming from protests over racial and social injustice.

The Bucks start this slightly truncated 72-game season a week after superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo signed a supermax contract extension with the team that will pay him $228.2 million over five years, the largest deal in NBA history.

For that gift, Bucks’ fans are grateful.

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Rich Rovito is a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine.