The 76ers’ desire to have their own arena should not come as a surprise. They would simply rather be an owner than a tenant.
They are a tenant at the Wells Fargo Center, which is owned by Comcast Spectacor. This week, The Inquirer reported that the Sixers are targeting Penn’s Landing for a potential new basketball arena.
The Sixers said the desire to explore a new arena had nothing to do with their relationship with Comcast Spectacor.
“The 76ers have long enjoyed a strong relationship with Comcast Spectacor, but the organization is exploring all options for when its lease ends at Wells Fargo Center in 2031, including a potential arena development at Penn’s Landing,” a Sixers spokesperson said this week.
The team has to share the building with the Flyers, who are owned by Comcast Spectacor. A person familiar with the Sixers’ thinking said that these are among the key reasons for the Sixers to explore the opportunity to own their building:
The Wells Fargo Center opened in 1996, and Comcast Spectacor opted for a $250 million renovation in 2018 rather than build a new arena. Despite the renovation, there is a question as to how much the arena will age in 11 years.
Owning a building can open up more avenues for revenue, including booking concerts and other events. There would be revenue from naming rights.
In owning their building, the Sixers would get the priority in scheduling their games.
Building an arena is expensive. The Sixers, according to Forbes’ 2020 ranking, are worth $2 billion. Having their own building, of course, will likely be contingent on how much taxpayer support the project receives. Little Caesar’s Arena, the home for both the Detroit Red Wings and Pistons, cost $863 million, according to the Detroit Free Press. It opened in 2017.
Eleven NBA teams share their arena with an NHL team.
*-The Islanders also played several games in 2019-20 at the Nassau Coliseum
Some iconic NBA franchises such as the Lakers and Celtics don’t own their buildings. And the Clippers are building an arena and moving out of the Staples Center when their lease expires in 2024.