Nearly 500 members of the media from 125 news outlets came to Philadelphia, Thursday to tour the Wells Fargo Center and in some cases try their first cheesesteak.
The Democratic National Convention Committee held the media walkthrough to get some of the expected 20,000 accredited members of the media acclimated to the space seven months ahead of the event.
For local reporters – some of whom were in the arena as recently as Tuesday for the 76ers game against the Lakers – the territory was well known. Thursday the jumbotron and electronic banners circling the court showed the PHL 2016 logo.
Rev. Leah Daughtry, Chief Executive officer of the Democratic National Convention Committee said her team is "on time, on task and on budget for this convention."
Following brief introductions and speeches the crowd, assembled in seats near center court, asked mostly logistical questions about credentialing, set-up, costs to their stations and fiber optics.
When a few reporters expressed concerns coming off of the papal visit where media access was in some cases limited, Mayor Nutter took the microphone to stress the differences between the two events.
"This is a very different event. That was two days of possibly the most popular person in the world doing speeches, two parades," Nutter said. This event – which expects 6,100 delegates in the arena and up to 50,000 attendees overall – presents virtually none of the logistical challenges as the papal weekend, Nutter said.
For some perspective, the convention's attendance will be smaller than an average Eagles' game.
Standing below retired jerseys and sports banners, Daughtry said the arena will be completely transformed and those Philadelphia mementos above her would find a place to stay over the weekend. The committee has said they will raise about $84 million for the event.
The Convention Center will hold daily caucuses, exhibits, forums, and speeches for the general public, Daughtry said.
The afternoon ended with a Philadelphia spread of cheesesteaks, Italian hoagies, soft pretzels and Tastykakes provided to the press.
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