Wells Fargo Center
Location in Philadelphia
Wells Fargo Center
Location in Pennsylvania
Wells Fargo Center
Location in the United States
|Address||3601 South Broad Street|
|Public transit||NRG station: SEPTA bus: 4, 17|
|Broke ground||September 14, 1994|
|Opened||August 13, 1996|
|Construction cost||US$210 million|
($384 million in 2021 dollars)
|Project manager||Fox Management Company|
|Services engineer||Flack & Kurtz|
|General contractor||L.F. Driscoll Co.|
The Wells Fargo Center is a multi-purpose indoor arena located in Philadelphia. It serves as the home of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association (NBA), 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 acquisition of Wachovia. CoreStates Financial Corporation was acquired by First Union, which later also purchased Wachovia National Bank to rename itself Wachovia Corporation; the combined company was acquired by Wells Fargo in 2008.
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 1 and 2 from the 1997 and Games 3, 4 and 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Games 3, 4 and 5 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.
Prior to its construction, the proposed arena was tentatively called "Spectrum II". The Wells Fargo Center was originally named for CoreStates Financial Corporation, 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 in 1998, Wachovia in 2003, and currently by Wells Fargo since 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.
During 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 was 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 played and defeated 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 public address (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. Vinnie Caligiuri was the PA announcer for the Philadelphia Soul during their tenure. Kevin Casey handled PA duties for the original Philadelphia Wings during their tenure. Marc Farzetta is the PA announcer for the current Philadelphia Wings.
Wells Fargo Center continued further renovations as part of a $265 million "Transformation 2020" initiative. It debuted a new "kinetic" 4K-resolution scoreboard in September 2019, which features two main arrays of outside displays that can expand outwards to a width of 62 feet (19 m), and two 65 foot (20 m) "crown" panels that can be raised and lowered as part of sequences. The arena also unveiled a new premium area for selected ticketholders known as the "Center City Club", and—as part of a partnership with Rivers Casino Philadelphia—two sportsbook lounges open to all visitors, which will feature a bar and seating areas, televisions and odds boards, and Rivers Casino ambassadors promoting use of the casino's sports betting app.
The arena also announced the "New City Terrace", a revamp of the standing room deck into a 23,000 square foot (2,100 m2) "Assembly Room" (inspired by Independence Hall), with bars and eateries, fireplaces, and communal areas. The area is designed to provide a "first-class experience at an accessible price point"; the arena's cheapest tickets will feature access to the level.
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.
In October 2019, center staff removed fans shouting "Free Hong Kong" at a pre-season game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Guangzhou Loong Lions.