What to Make of the Sixers’ New Stadium Plans

FILE – Wells Fargo Center, home of the Philadelphia Flyers NHL hockey team and the Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball team, is shown March 14, 2020. The Philadelphia 76ers, who currently play at Wells Fargo Center, are taking the first steps toward building a privately-funded sports and entertainment arena. The team’s managing partners on Thursday, July 21, 2022, announced the creation of a new development company to create its future home in the city’s Fashion District. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

The days of the Sixers playing at the Wells Fargo Center are ending…at least in a few years. The franchise has played in the building since it first opened in 1996. It is important to note that Comcast Spectacor is the owner of the Wells Fargo Center, and the Sixers have leased it since its opening. They are currently one of the eleven NBA franchisees sharing a stadium with an NHL team. Having their own place is likely one of the motivations for the move, and it has officially been announced it will be built in Center City.

The new building will be privately funded, and 76 Devcorp will lead development which was created by Sixers managing partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer. The building will be named “76 Place” and is set to be put up in the Fashion District of Philadelphia. The vision is that it will serve as the anchor to Center City and help the continued revitalization of Philly. Construction is anticipated to cost $1.3 billion, and it will still be several years until construction breaks ground.

The Pros

There certainly is an appeal to the Sixers having their own place. A new stadium always causes a buzz among the fan base, and incorporating it into the city is a very cool idea. Center City is much more in the heart of Philly than where the Wells Fargo Center currently lies. This is much more typical of a stadium location for a major city.

The Sixers have also made it clear that the goal of this move is the benefit the city as a whole. As was put in the press release, “The arena will provide $1.9 billion in overall economic output during construction and $400 million annually upon opening to support Philadelphia’s long-term economic growth and sustainability.” Obviously, sports play a major role in a city’s economy, and the benefits this new building could provide are immense. It also is nice to see the building will be privately funded.

The Cons

While being in the heart of the city is cool, there also is something special about the core four Philadelphia sports all within the same area. It may not be in the heart of Philly, but the Wells Fargo location is very convenient for fans traveling from outside of Philadelphia to get to the games-especially coming from New Jersey.

The new location will certainly provide some new challenges in getting in and out. It is important to note that one of the main reasons behind choosing the location was due to it being in the most transit-rich locations in the city. However, this does not change that it will be a more difficult task for those driving to the games. It also could provide some new challenges to those looking to tailgate.

Overall Thoughts on the Sixers’ New Stadium Plans

For starters, people are way too fired up about something that is several years away from occurring. Change is always difficult, and there has been a history of backlash at previous attempts at stadium changes. The Sixers were outbid on an attempted purchase of a location in Penns Landing in 2020. The Phillies also attempted to build a new stadium near 12 and Market streets in the 1990s, but the effort received pushback.

The bottom line is it all depends on the execution of the stadium. There is some real potential for this to be an amazing move if the travel details and other factors contributing to the experiences are executed well. The Sixers are deserving of their own building, and they will find it at this location.

The arena is going to be slightly smaller than the Wells Fargo Center and hold 18,000 rather than 20,000. If it is properly built and embraces Philadelphia in a greater way, this could be a terrific stadium. People should keep an open mind and see what the true plan is for 76 Place. The timeline is still far away from actually occurring and could play a major role in changing the city for the better.