Aug 4, 2023 - Sports

Sixers spat with Wells Fargo Center owner escalates

The Wells Fargo Center

The Wells Fargo Center may lose a major tenant if the Sixers depart for Market-East. Photo: Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty

The public feud between the 76ers and the Wells Fargo Center's owner is picking up steam a year after the Sixers pitched to ditch their South Philly home in favor of building their own arena.

Why it matters: The odd couple will remain linked until at least 2031 when the Sixers' current lease expires.

Driving the news: The Sixers and Comcast Spectacor, which owns the arena, traded more barbs in the media again this week over the terms of their scheduling agreement and investments in the stadium.

The big picture: For months, Sixers co-owner David Adelman and his group of new stadium boosters have been on a campaign criticizing Comcast Spectacor while pressuring City Council to approve needed legislation for the proposed 18,500-seat arena at 10th and Market Streets.

  • The 76ers are nearing a self-imposed fall deadline for Philly officials to back city approvals for the project, and Adelman has said there is "no Plan B."

Meanwhile, Comcast Spectacor chairman Daniel Hilferty, who rarely comments on the Sixers saga, has spoken out against the team's claims in recent weeks as the group campaigns for the team to stay.

🏀 The Sixers' side: The team has two main motivations for leaving South Philly.

  • The Sixers want control over their own schedule, saying they're at a competitive disadvantage due to lease terms with the Wells Fargo Center.
  • They also want better team and fan facilities.
  • Plus: The team's ownership group claims the new stadium will generate more than $1 billion in new tax revenues for the city, school district, and the state.

🏟️ Spectacor's side: Comcast Spectacor wants to keep the Sixers as a tenant.

  • The group has offered to share ownership of the Wells Fargo Center with the Sixers, per Philly Voice.
  • As for scheduling, Spectacor said concerts and shows get first dibs, then the Sixers and Flyers take turns selecting their dates, per the Inquirer.
A rendering of 76 Place, the Sixers potential new stadium in Philadelphia
This rendering of 76 Place, the Sixers potential new stadium in Market East. Courtesy of 76 Place

What they're saying: Adelman has minimized Spectacor's ongoing $400 million renovations to the Wells Fargo Center, calling them "cosmetic changes" in May, per Forbes magazine.

  • "The fan expects more. My knock is that I want to give our fans a different kind of experience, a more intimate experience than they're currently receiving," he said on the "Crossing Broad" podcast last month.
  • Hilferty, on the other hand, told the Inquirer he's focused on answering the question, "How do we make this work for all of us, including the Sixers?"
  • "If eventually they do depart, we will wish them well, but we will be out there looking to fill this arena — and this beautiful district that we envision — night in and night out."

What to watch: The city is independently evaluating the potential effects of the arena proposal to the area, which the 76ers are partially paying for, per the Inquirer.


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