Fans of the Flyers and Sixers, at least those who sit in box seats, will notice a change when they return to the Wells Fargo Center.
As part of a $300 million renovation, dubbed a “transformation” by Comcast Spectacor—the stadium’s owner—crews last week began replacing the seats in the center’s club level.
This summer’s project is a small part of the broader overhaul, which began five years ago and is two-thirds complete, according to the company. Work had been paused as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“The restart of this major transformation project is yet another example that Philadelphia is rebounding from the pandemic in a big way,” Mayor Jim Kenney said, in a statement distributed by Comcast Spectacor.
Shortened NBA and NHL offseasons mean that other planned improvements, including a redesign of the arena’s exterior and the addition of new food vendors, will have to wait until next summer.
Comcast Spectacor, in a news release, boasted that no public money is being used to fund the revamp, unlike some stadium projects in other cities.
Valerie Camillo, the stadium’s president of business operations, said in a statement that the company views the upgrades as an investment in the city, South Philadelphia and the Stadium District.
“The Wells Fargo Center is a pillar of our city, both culturally and economically, and this Transformation project will ensure that it remains Philadelphia’s home for hockey, basketball, lacrosse, concerts and events for decades to come,” she said.
Renovations on the 21,000-seat arena, which was built in 1996, began in 2016 after it was selected to host the Democratic National Convention.
Since then, the scoreboard has been replaced; the concourse has been redesigned; new amenities were added to the upper levels; and a club opened.
Before fans were allowed to return in March, the stadium spent $11 million on a HVAC system that it says cycles air through the facility every 30 minutes.
Last year, a failed attempt by the Sixers to get a plan approved to build a stadium at Penn’s Landing in Center City sparked questions over whether the basketball team intended to stay at the Wells Fargo Center.
Comcast Spector, which, in addition to controlling the stadium, owns the Flyers, previously ran the Sixers but sold the team to current owner Josh Harris a decade ago.
“We have a lease with our partners at Comcast Spectacor for another decade,” a Sixers spokesperson told Metro. “We will continue to explore all options in Philadelphia for when our lease expires in 2031, with a focus on delivering the best experience for our fans.”
Representatives from Comcast Spectacor pointed to recent comments made by Camillo in an article written by the Inquirer’s Mike Sielski.
“Look, I don’t want to get into speculation about how the Sixers think about this,” she said in the article. “The Sixers know we want them to stay.”