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The Milwaukee Bucks agreed yesterday to a 30-year lease on the new arena, which they hope to begin construction on this summer. They’ll pay a minimum of a million dollars a year to the Wisconsin Center District. Meanwhile, another nearby project the Bucks are partnered with also took a step forward this week.

(Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images)

You can call ESPN2's "His & Hers" a lot of things: Distinctive. Fun. Boundary-pushing. But there's one term the hosts, Michael Smith and Jemele Hill, would prefer you don't use.

"It's not that 'debate' is necessarily a dirty word," Hill says, "but we like to think that we really pay attention to the nuance of discussions."

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It is no secret that women’s inequality is still a significant issue in today’s society. Many women still earn only 79 cents for every dollar earned by men for the same jobs.

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A major investigative piece from the New York Times says the NFL's studies on concussions from 1996 through 2001 were grossly flawed. The league has long relied on the data from those studies to back their claim that the verdict is still out on long-term health effects of concussions.

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While they're having a mixed season on the court, the Milwaukee Bucks made news this week with the release of a design for the team's new downtown arena, and the announcement that Mortenson has been chosen as the company that will manage the arena's construction.

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You couldn't blame sports anchor and Milwaukee area native Trenni Kusnierek for being a bit apprehensive about speaking publicly on her struggles with depression and anxiety. After all, the sports world in which she plies her trade thrives on an image of strength. Kusnierek worried about what she might hear from her new bosses at Comcast SportsNet New England. Or her viewers. Or the athletes she covered.

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More new construction is coming to Milwaukee’s near west side. A new athletic research facility will be built on four city blocks bordered by Michigan Street, north 6th Street, 10th street and the Marquette Interchange. The project is a partnership between Marquette University, Aurora Healthcare and the Milwaukee Bucks.

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Even though we don’t have the Packers to watch any more this season, there’s been a lot to take in – and discuss – in recent days regarding sports in Wisconsin.

Veteran catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, made waves this week when he suggested that a trade could be the best thing for him and the Brewers. Some believe Lucroy is asking for a trade, while others felt the conceit could decrease his value as a player.

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The NFL playoffs get underway this weekend.  It was not that long ago that Green Bay Packer fans had plenty of confidence in the Green and Gold going through the postseason.

But no longer.  There is plenty of angst in Titletown as the Packers travel to D.C. to play Washington's football club.

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The Green Bay Packers return home this weekend for a game against the Detroit Lions.  The game couldn’t come at a better time for the Packers who just lost two road games in a row, and in convincing fashion.

There’s more than a little angst in Packer Nation at the moment, and sports contributor Howie Magner thinks it may be a bit of an over-reaction from fans.

"Suddenly, people are wondering if they are going to make the playoffs, or if they need to fire everybody.  Or whether they should trade Aaron Rodgers, which is all kind of silly," he says.

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Pro football fans in Wisconsin might be going through withdrawal this weekend.  The Green Bay Packers have this week off and don’t return to action until next Sunday night against Denver.

That means they’re assured of spending another week as one of the NFL’s undefeated teams. Sports contributor Howie Magner says one key reason the Packers remain undefeated is because the defense is better than most expected.

"The offense has been playing well enough to win games and the defense has really been securing those games," he says.

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Milwaukee will be in the winter sports spotlight this weekend as it hosts a major international figure skating competition.

Skate America is one part of the International Skating Union’s Grand Prix of Figure Skating.  It opens this afternoon at the UWM Panther Arena and features 60 top skaters including American Olympians such as Gracie Gold and Jason Brown, along with Russian Julia Liptnitskaia and more. 

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The Green Bay Packers open their 2015 season with a game in Chicago against the arch-rival Chicago Bears, amid the usual high expectations for the Green and Gold.

Lake Effect sports contributor Howie Magner is not sure whether those high expectations are likely to be met this season. 

"There are players on the defensive side of the ball that can make game-winning plays, but as a whole (if you're a Packers fan), what you want is the defense to be good enough," says Magner.

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When baseball season opened, there were high hopes for the Milwaukee Brewers.  They’d had a rough end to their 2014 season, but the pundits thought they had the potential to bounce back.

But, as we know by now, that didn’t happen – it’s been a struggle all year for the Brew Crew, and that was reflected when the team sent a host of players elsewhere in the last few weeks. 

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On the heels of a dramatic championship performance by the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, a Madison man is hoping to score big with a new spin on the game.  It’s also a spin on another sport. 

Kurt Bjurlin is one of the inventors of Futpong – a game that he envisions could change the face of American soccer.  But first, the product has to reach market. 

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