Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia)
|Address||3601 South Broad Street|
|Public transit||AT&T Station: SEPTA bus: 4, 17|
|Broke ground||September 14, 1994|
|Opened||August 13, 1996|
($328 million in 2017 dollars)
|Project manager||Fox Management Company|
|Structural engineer||Walter P Moore/Bernard Schwartz & Associates|
|Services engineer||Flack & Kurtz|
|General contractor||L.F. Driscoll Co.|
The Wells Fargo Center is a multi-purpose indoor arena located in Philadelphia. It is the home arena of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League (AFL) and the Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League (NLL). The arena lies at the southwest corner of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, which includes Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park, and Xfinity Live!.
The Wells Fargo Center, originally called Spectrum II, was completed in 1996 to replace the Spectrum as the home arena of the 76ers and Flyers, on the former site of John F. Kennedy Stadium at a cost of $210 million, largely privately financed (though the city and state helped to pay for the local infrastructure). It is owned by Comcast Spectacor, which also owns the Flyers, and is operated by its arena-management subsidiary, Global Spectrum. Since opening, it has been known by a number of different names through naming rights deals and bank mergers, including CoreStates Center from 1996 to 1998, First Union Center from 1998 to 2003, and Wachovia Center from 2003 to 2010. Since 2010, naming rights have been held by financial services company Wells Fargo, after their merger with Wachovia.
In addition to hosting home games for its main tenants, the arena has been the site of a number of other notable athletic events including games from the 1997 and 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, games of the 2001 NBA Finals, and various collegiate events for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Wells Fargo Center has hosted two political conventions, hosting the 2000 Republican National Convention and 2016 Democratic National Convention. The arena is a regular venue for concerts and WWE events. The arena has a concert seating capacity of 21,000 seated and at least 21,500 standing.
Before its construction, the proposed arena was tentatively called "Spectrum II". The Wells Fargo Center was originally named for CoreStates Bank, which agreed to pay $40 million over 21 years for the naming rights, with additional terms to be settled later for an additional eight-year period at the end of the contract.
However, the contract has gone through multiple hands due to various bank mergers; first by First Union Bank in 1998, Wachovia in 2003, and currently by Wells Fargo in July 2010. Installation of the new Wells Fargo Center branding began on July 27, 2010, with the removal of the Wachovia Center signage, followed by the installation of the new Wells Fargo Center signage. Work was completed in September 2010.
Beginning in the 2015–16 NBA season for a short time, the 76ers ceased recognizing Wells Fargo's naming rights and referred to the facility exclusively as "The Center", as the institution is not a sponsor of the team. The Wells Fargo Center logo decal which sat on the 76ers court was in the most minimal text discernible by television cameras, colored in white to blend in with the floor. (Reportedly, 76ers CEO Scott O'Neil's first idea was to color it with clear-coat paint only visible with UV blacklighting showing the logo during the opening of Sixers games when the arena lights were drawn down; however, the team, after discussion with their lawyers, elected not to do so.) With the start of the new year in January 2016 with input from Comcast Spectacor, the logo decal was enlarged and repainted in black. The 76ers then signed a non-signage sponsorship agreement with Firstrust Bank as their official banking sponsor.
The Wells Fargo Center officially seats 20,318 for NBA and NCAA basketball and 19,541 for NHL hockey and indoor NLL lacrosse. With additional standing-room admissions available in luxury and club-box suites, the total paid capacity increases. The Wells Fargo Center has 126 luxury suites, 1,880 club-box seats, and a variety of restaurants and clubs (both public and private) available for use by patrons. In addition, the offices, studios, and production facilities of NBC Sports Philadelphia are all located in the facility.
On June 10, 2005, the Wachovia Center set a record for the highest attendance for an indoor hockey game in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania (20,103) when the Philadelphia Phantoms won Game 4 of the 2005 Calder Cup Finals over the Chicago Wolves to win the Calder Cup. The attendance record was broken on June 9, 2010, as the Wachovia Center set another attendance record of 20,327 for Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals; the Flyers lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime, which gave Chicago its first Stanley Cup since 1961. The Wells Fargo Center also set a record for the highest attendances for a college basketball game in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania on January 29, 2017, when Villanova University played and defeated the University of Virginia before a crowd of 20,907.
On August 1, 2006, Comcast Spectacor announced it would install a new center-hung scoreboard to replace the original one made by Daktronics. The new scoreboard, manufactured by ANC Sports, is similar to other scoreboards in new NBA & NHL arenas. An additional linear LED display lining the entire arena was also installed between the suite and mezzanine levels. Other renovations for the Wachovia Center's ten-year anniversary included upgrading the suites with more flat screen HDTV's, as well as changing ticket providers from Ticketmaster to New Era Tickets, which is owned by Comcast Spectacor.
The PA announcer at the Wells Fargo Center for Flyers games is Lou Nolan, who moved with the team from the Spectrum, where he worked since 1972. Matt Cord is the PA announcer for 76ers games. Jim Bachman is the PA announcer for Villanova basketball games. Kevin Casey handled PA duties for the Philadelphia Wings during their tenure.
- On August 13, 1996, a private concert by Ray Charles was the first event at the CoreStates Center, with a crowd of nearly 12,000. Each spectator was given a commemorative key acknowledging they helped "open the arena". The inaugural concert, on September 2, 1996, featured Oasis, with The Manic Street Preachers and The Screaming Trees, before an estimated crowd of 12,000. The Wells Fargo Center has since held other concerts by many famous artists.
- On December 6, 2002, hard rock band Guns N' Roses was scheduled to perform there on its Chinese Democracy Tour. The opening bands CKY and Mix Master Mike performed, but the main act, Guns N' Roses, never appeared, fueling a riot in the arena and causing about $30,000 to $40,000 in damage. No reason was ever given for the non-appearance by Guns N' Roses, other than the public announcement that one of the band members was ill.
- In 2006, Billy Joel set a record when he sold-out his 18th Wachovia Center concert.
In addition, hanging from the rafters of the Wells Fargo Center are three banners in the orange and black colors of the Flyers honoring Pearl Jam's 10, Billy Joel's 48 Philadelphia sellouts and Bruce Springsteen's 56 Philadelphia sellouts respectively.
- Villanova University Wildcats of the NCAA; High-attendance home games for which the on-campus arena, The Pavilion, is inadequate to accommodate are played at the Wells Fargo Center. The men's team played the majority of its home games of the 2017–18 season here while The Pavilion underwent renovations.
Former full time
Former part time
- Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League (AHL); The Flyers' AHL development club played some regular season and Calder Cup playoff games at the Wells Fargo Center each season between 1996 and 2009 when the Spectrum was unavailable because of other events.
- 1996 World Cup of Hockey (three games)
- 1997 Stanley Cup Finals
- 1998 United States Figure Skating Championships
- 1998 NLL Championship
- 1999 AHL All-Star Classic
- WrestleMania XV, 1999
- 2000 NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four
- WWF Unforgiven, 2000
- 2001 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regional
- 2001 NBA Finals
- X Games VII, 2001
- 2002 NBA All-Star Game
- X Games VIII, 2002
- 2005 AHL Calder Cup Finals
- 2006 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, 1st & 2nd rounds
- WWE Survivor Series, 2006
- U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics, 2008
- 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, 1st & 2nd rounds
- WWE Night of Champions, 2009
- UFC 101, 2009
- 2010 Stanley Cup Finals
- NCAA Men's Wrestling Championship, 2011
- UFC 133, 2011
- 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, 2nd & 3rd rounds
- WWE Money in the Bank, 2013
- NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship, 2014
- 2014 NHL Entry Draft
- WWE Royal Rumble, 2004, 2015 and 2018
- 2016 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament East Regional
- WWE Battleground, 2017
- ArenaBowl XXX, 2017
- WWE NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia in 2018
- Wheel of Fortune from Philadelphia, 2004
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- Sixers take passive-aggressive shot at Wells Fargo with logo placement on court
- Sixers enlarge Wells Fargo logo on court
- Firstrust Bank looks past 76ers’ Wells Fargo arena deal in new sponsorship
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