Wells Fargo Center – Philadelphia 76ers

by | Mar 2, 2019 | NBA, Richard Smith | 0 comments

Fanfare Score

Total Score
4.14

Crowd Score

Total Score
4.19

 

 

South Philly Sixers

When the Philadelphia Warriors moved to San Francisco after the 1962 season there was a sports void in the “City of Brotherly Love.” Most notably about that final Warriors season in Philadelphia was the March 2, 1962 “home” game played in Hershey, Pennsylvania where Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points against the New York Knicks. After the 1963 season the Syracuse Nationals moved to town.

The Syracuse Nationals had been successful before their move, as they had a league best record of 51-13 in their first year. But playing long term in such a small town was not in the cards. 

The overall franchise has won the NBA championship three times (1955, 1967 and 1983). Famous players of the franchise include Wilt Chamberlain, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson. The team has accumulated the third-highest number of wins in NBA history. 

The 76ers long time home used to be the Spectrum. That arena was demolished in 2010 and 2011 and stood near where the Xfinity Live entertainment complex now resides.

This current building opened in 1996 as the CoreStates Center and is home not just to the 76ers but to the Flyers, Soul (Arena Football League), as well as selected Villanova Wildcats basketball games. It is part of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex with fellow venues Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Bank Park. It is a large arena, holding 20,318 seats, and is a venue for the largest touring concerts and events that come through the area. It is a busy place.

The arena has been going through some drastic remodeling recently, mainly seen in an enhanced concourse.

Food & Beverage 5

There really is a huge variety of foods in the Wells Fargo Center. If you cannot find something here to eat you really have not looked very well. The main concourse has a large variety of almost every food type. And the upper concourse patrons are not forgotten as pretty much all food options can be found there as well.

Sodas are $6 and $7.50 throughout the facility. And most booths sell nachos ($6.50), popcorn ($5), pizza slices ($4.75) and baked chicken sandwiches ($7).

Hot dogs are $6, which seems a bit high. You would be better off trying other options around the arena.

Campos is a local cheesesteak restaurant in the Philadelphia area. They have a few stands in the Wells Fargo Center and offer a pretty good version of a local cheesesteak for $10. If you did not get one before the game, this is a good choice eating spot during the game. 

Local sports bar Chickie and Pete’s also has a few locations inside the arena. The staple here is their Crab Fries, which cost $10.50. You must try them at least once. They also offer a pretty good Chicken Cutlet sandwich for $9.75.

PJ Whelihan’s offers a full size bar environment with a variety of beer and food choices. Beer is not cheap, starting at $8, but at least the selection will make it worth it. Just watch out for the $11 premium can beer, as that should never be your choice.
The Cure Insurance Club is sort of a built-in food court with a bar as well. It is large and offers a good spot for meeting up with friends. Once again watch for the expensive beer selection.

Atmosphere 4

The Wells Fargo Center is one of the largest arenas in the NBA. But the design makes it feel like a much smaller facility. And it is a loud facility. Although the 76ers rarely sell out, the arena will rumble with crowd noise similar to a sellout arena.

The large scoreboard provides another way to engage with the event. There are three video boards showing live action, statistics and replays. It would be close to impossible not to be engaged in the game with all the information that flows around. A ribbon board surrounds the stands and there are other smaller scoreboards scattered about.

The opening introductions can be quite impressive. The team plays up their long history showing clips of Wilt Chamberlain, Dr. J, Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson. There is also a quite impressive video projection onto the basketball court, as well as team mascot Franklin banging a giant liberty bell.

The visiting team lineup gets the obligatory “suck” chants from the Philly crowd. Meanwhile the home team gets a rousing introduction with fire and smoke going off in the arena. It is quite impressive. And warm.

The cheerleader squad is called Dream Team and they entertain the crowd numerous times in the game. Depending on the game they may also be accompanied by the Junior Dream team, which is a youth cheerleading program.

The Flight Squad is a group of acrobatic men who entertain during various parts of the game. Their big act is the trampoline based dunking routine, but they perform various functions throughout the game to engage the fans. If they do not get you pumped up there may be something wrong with you.

If you are a fan of the 76ers or Flyers, spend some time at the large souvenir store offering merchandise from both teams. Smaller souvenir booths are also found. I attended a Flyers game the same day as a 76ers game. It was impressive to see how quickly the souvenir stands get changed from one team to another.

Fans of both main tenants will also enjoy some various history exhibits of glory gone past scattered around the main level concourse. The ‘Remember The Spectrum’ wall exhibit displays the history of the old arena and the amazing history that occurred there in sports and entertainment. 

Neighborhood 4

The stadium complex is located some distance from the downtown parts of the city. I would have loved to rate it higher but you will want to venture away from the Wells Fargo Center a little for a good time.

There are still some local options though. Located closest is the Xfinity Live complex in the same parking lot. It is a quick walk from Xfinity Live back to the Wells Fargo Center. Basically it is like a food court of bars. Food is also good here and offers a decent variety, although not at the cheapest prices. The star attraction here is the 32-foot screen at the NBC Sports Arena. The Victory Beer Hall is also another fine venue, especially for local brews. There is also a year round bar called McFadden’s located at Citizen’s Bank Park across the street, but it can get pretty quiet on 76ers nights.
Located just a short bit away is Chickie’s and Pete’s flagship location on Packard Avenue. This massive sports bar has numerous smaller bars inside, hundreds of screens, video games and some serious food. The Crab Fries also offered in the arena are obviously a star here. Also check out my favorite, the chicken cheesesteak. You can park here for some games and they offer a shuttle bus to the games (“The Taxi Crab”). Just make sure you follow parking rules as they will be quick to tow you if you don’t.

Some of the best cheesesteaks are located at Tony Luke’s on Oregon Avenue underneath I-95. Don’t fall for the more touristy Pat and Geno’s. Tony Luke’s offers more options with much better flavor. They are located further away from the Wells Fargo Center so you will need a car. It makes for a great stop pre-game, not that a post-game stop would be bad either.

The rest of Philadelphia is available to you a short ride away on the Broad Street subway line. I would recommend taking the subway to the Race Vine station and walk down Race Street east until you get to Chinatown. Peek in a random restaurant and try their delectable offerings. David’s Mai Lai Wah (1001 Race Street, #1) and Bar-Ly (101 N. 11th Street) are a couple great options. Bar-Ly is Chinatown’s first craft beer bar. What is better than craft beer and good Asian cuisine?

Fans 4

Philadelphia fans have a well-deserved reputation. After all, they did throw snowballs at Santa. But I have found the fans for the 76ers to be pretty well behaved when compared to the ones who attend Flyers, Eagles and Wings games. During introductions each opposing player’s name is followed by a loud “suck” by the fans. That is about the main extent of bad behavior and that is not too bad. Generally, it is the most fan friendly of all the tenants of the area, probably only rivaled by the more laid back Phillies games. The closer you get to the floor, the more likely you’ll hear louder and harsher language.

There are always concourse activities occurring before and during the games. Local school bands, Mummer bands, kids sport teams and other community participants are located in that area at all times. This speaks to the overall engagement level at the arena. They do have some businesses hawking their products so do be wary of those. Practice by saying “No, I do not need an alarm system” over and over again.

Access 5

The sports complex is located right off of I-95 with massive parking lots in the area. Even with big crowds there should be no problem with access. Parking prices vary by the event and by the lot. It will not be cheap, but it will be convenient as there are over 6,000 spaces available throughout eight lots at $16 apiece. A pretty good value is a $7 lot on the opposite side of Lincoln Financial Field that an outside vendor runs.
If using public transportation you will likely find yourself using the only corporate sponsored subway station that I know of, the NRG station of the Broad Street Line.

Return on Investment 4

You will not find one simple pricing structure for 76ers tickets. They use a variable pricing structure that means the Miami Heat games will cost more than a game against the Bucks or Timberwolves. If you want to see LeBron, prepare to pay.

The cheapest seats are in sections 217A to 221 and 205A to 209 and are under $20 every game. Other seats in the upper deck range from $45 to $55. The cheapest seats on the lower level start at under $30 and go up to around $50 depending on the opponent. Center court and other close to the action seats will put you out in the mid-$100 range.

It is best to look at internet ticket sites; as much cheaper seats can be found for even the biggest name opponent. Having such a large venue means there is almost always seats available somewhere.

Extras 3

The aforementioned team and Spectrum history exhibits is a great extra for the visiting fan.

Places inside the arena, such as the Cure Insurance Club offer a great meeting place for fans to gather before, during and after games to be with friends. They offer space and opportunity to keep that positive engagement feeling going. 
Look for the banners that hang honoring Billy Joel’s 48 Philadelphia sellouts and Bruce Springsteen’s 53 Philadelphia sellouts.

WiFi is also available at most places within the arena. Not sure you should be spending too much time surfing the web when you could be enjoying a good game, but it is another extra value for the fan.

Final Thoughts

Wells Fargo Center is an impressive arena. It is large but has the intimacy of a much smaller venue. Even with a team that is experiencing down times, the 76ers fans attend in large numbers and are entertained by a staff that welcomes and engages all fans.

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Food and Drink Recommendations

Chickie’s and Pete’s

1526 Packer Ave

Philadelphia, PA 19145

(215) 218-0500

http://www.chickiesandpetes.com/


McFadden’s

1 Citizens Bank Way

Philadelphia, PA 19148

(215) 952-0300

http://www.mcfaddensballpark.com/


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Entertainment Recommendations

Liberty Bell

N 6th St & Market St

Philadelphia, PA 19106

(215) 965-2305

https://www.nps.gov/inde/learn/historyculture/stories-libertybell.htm


Eastern State Penitentiary

2027 Fairmount Ave.

Philadelphia, PA 19130

(215) 236-3300

http://www.easternstate.org


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Lodging Recommendations

 

South Bridge Bed and Breakfast

2628 South St

Philadelphia, PA 19146

(215) 219-2682

http://www.bedandbreakfast.com/pa-philadelphia-southbridgebedandbreakfast-page.html


 

Holiday Inn Philadelphia Stadium

900 Packer Ave

Philadelphia, PA 19148

(215) 755-9500

http://www.hiphilly.com/


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Crowd Reviews

Latest Crowd Reviews

Date: 2019-02-26 11:38:09
By: Legacy Review

Total Score
4.29

The City of Brotherly Love did not earn its name because of its sports fans. However, it is hard to criticize them for their passion and love for their sports teams. The Wells Fargo Center provides a wonderful venue to watch some of the most heated and storied rivalries in professional sports.

Date: 2018-04-10 11:05:50
By: Legacy Review

Total Score
4.14

This current building opened in 1996 as the CoreStates Center and is home not just to the 76ers but to the Flyers, Soul (Arena Football League), as well as selected Villanova Wildcats basketball games. It is part of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex with fellow venues Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Bank Park. It is a large arena, holding 20,318 seats, and is a venue for the largest touring concerts and events that come through the area. It is a busy place.

Date: 2017-12-08 16:00:47
By: Paul Baker

Total Score
4.14

Now that the Sixers are competitive again, the fans are coming back to the Wells Fargo Arena. It&#039s a big place, but has great sight lines thoughout. The biggest drawback is the neighborhood. Sure, it&#039s convenient to have all your stadiums in one location, but it means that there isn&#039t much around except for parking lots. If you venture outside of the Stadium Complex, there isn&#039t much around in South Philly. The fans here get a bad rep, but as long as you aren&#039t a jerk, you won&#039t have any problems.

Stadium Info

Wells Fargo Center
3601 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19148

Philadelphia 76ers website

Wells Fargo Center website

Year Opened: 1996

Capacity: 20,318

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