Wells Fargo Center – Philadelphia Flyers
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43
Wells Fargo Center 3601 S Broad St Philadelphia, PA 19148
Year Opened: 1996
Broad Street Bullies
In South Philadelphia born and raised, on the ice is where the Flyers spend most of their days.
Where exactly is that ice, though? Until 1996, it was on Philly’s Broad Street at the lauded Spectrum. “America’s Showplace”, as it was called, hosted the Flyers since their inception in 1967, and it was where the team earned their Broad Street Bullies nickname. Derived from their aggressive and tough style of play, the moniker was certainly warranted – it led them to back-to-back Cups in ‘74 and ‘75, and an appearance in the Finals in ‘76.
In 1996, the Flyers moved a few hundred yards south to the newly-constructed CoreStates Center, known today as the Wells Fargo Center. Located on the former site of John F. Kennedy Stadium, this state-of-the-art hockey and basketball venue cost more than $210 million to construct. As well as serving as the Flyers’ stomping grounds, the Wells Fargo Center is also home to the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the Philadelphia Wings of the NLL. Additionally, local basketball powerhouse Villanova plays marquee matchups at the arena.
Food & Beverage 5
Philadelphia is a foodie’s paradise, with its iconic cheesesteak scene and rich Dutch heritage. This top-notch cuisine is reflected well in the concessionaires at Wells Fargo Center, as they offer countless entrées and side dishes for fans to enjoy. Here are some of the highlights: cheesesteaks ($13.50), nachos ($8.50), corned beef reubens ($15), pastrami sandwiches ($14), hot dogs ($6), chicken tenders with fries ($20), hamburgers ($8-$10), egg rolls ($9), popcorn ($7), pizza slices ($9), candy/peanuts ($5.50), mozzarella sticks ($8), curly fries ($8), pretzel bites ($8), soft serve ice cream ($7), cookies ($6) and funnel cakes ($6.25). And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll discover many more options once you’re on the ground in Philly, including chains such as Shake Shack, Dippin’ Dots, Federal Donuts, Rita’s Water Ices, Campo’s Cheesesteaks and Dunkin’ Donuts, just to name a few.
All that food will probably make you thirsty: bottled water is $5, and Coke products are also served. Bottles are $6, or you can grab a souvenir soda for $8.75. There’s plenty of alcohol on tap at the arena too, including a variety of canned beers that range in price from $11-$16. Additionally, you’ll find a large bar hangout area behind Section 116. There are countless pours available here, it just depends on your taste.
Bottom line? Yes, it’s pricey – but it’s impossible to go hungry at a Flyers game.
The parent company of the Flyers, Comcast Spectacor, recently completed around $265 million in renovations to update and enhance the game day experience at Wells Fargo Center. The highlight of this “Transformation 2020” initiative is undoubtedly the next-generation scoreboard that was installed prior to the 2019-20 season. The world’s first Kinetic 4K center-hung scoreboard, it also features two independent crown trusses that move vertically and are equipped with pyrotechnic capabilities. During the pre-game show and player intros, flames shoot out of these trusses, much to the delight of the crowd.
Speaking of the pre-game show, the spectacle put on by the Flyers rivals the presentations staged by Nashville and Vegas as the best in the NHL. The mobile scoreboard equipped with fire, coupled with the insanely realistic on-ice projections, together create a perfect blend of awe, anticipation and excitement. When the game gets underway, these features continue to be put to good use. For example, Feel the Shake by JETBOY blasts over the sound system every time the Flyers net a goal, and the high-tech projection makes the ice appear to “shake” along with the music.
Among other features added during the latest round of upgrades, vertical LED video strips were placed on the glass that surrounds the ice. Lighting up only during the pre-game or when the Flyers score a goal, these thin rods are a helpful visual cue for fans who might not be looking in the right direction at key moments.
New seats in the lower bowl and upper deck are another important change, as they’re intended to be more sightly and more comfortable than the old “Spectrum Red” seats that were installed when the arena first opened.
Wells Fargo Center is a part of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, which is also the site of Citizens Bank Park (MLB; Phillies) and Lincoln Financial Field (NFL; Eagles). Additionally, it’s home to Xfinity Live!, a great pre- or post-game destination. This dining and entertainment complex is home to multiple sports bars and restaurants, including the Broad Street Bullies Pub, Victory Beer Hall and Geno’s Steaks. There’s also a kiosk serving a limited menu from Chickie’s & Pete’s, a local sports bar and crabhouse that’s famous for their Crab Fries. The chain has similar locations across the East Coast in different sports venues and amusement parks, but you can visit one of their full-menu, brick-and-mortar locations on Packer Avenue, just a few blocks away from Wells Fargo Center.
The Complex itself is essentially one massive, glorified parking lot. It was the former site of JFK Stadium, Veterans Stadium, and the historic Spectrum before the latter was razed in 2011. The JFK Stadium site is where Wells Fargo Center now sits, and both the Veterans Stadium and Spectrum footprints have been replaced with asphalt parking areas. There’s now a marker dedicated to the old home of the Flyers in Parking Lot G.
For any additional entertainment outside of sports, take a look at Philadelphia’s Center City. Just a few miles north of the Complex, this historic downtown features a number of significant Revolutionary-era landmarks such as Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Other attractions of note include Philadelphia’s iconic City Hall, the Museum of Art made famous by the 70s blockbuster Rocky, and the National Constitution Center. Philly also has a rich maritime history as a strategic port on the Delaware River, and this history is on display daily at the Independence Seaport Museum.
As is becoming the norm at North American hockey games, the fans at Wells Fargo Center greet the opposing team by yelling “…sucks” after they’re introduced. From there, the crowd’s Philly temperament takes over. If you’ve ever seen video of a brawl at a Philadelphia Eagles game, you can extrapolate. A word to the wise: while Flyers fans generally aren’t any worse than any other fan base, they can sometimes create an atmosphere that isn’t family-friendly. But 9 times out of 10, you won’t encounter any issues. Just try not to fall over at the end of the game when everyone makes a run for the exits.
The South Philadelphia Sports Complex is located off of Broad Street near Interstates 76 and 95. It’s in close proximity to the Philadelphia International Airport as well, making it a highly accessible area. As an added bonus, the Complex has an abundance of asphalt: an expanse of parking lots surround all three venues, meaning you won’t have to hunt for a space. The downside here is that the lots are extremely pricey.
Broad Street appears to have been designed, or at least revised, to cater to game day traffic. The traffic signals and turning lanes are all constructed in favor of arriving and departing Flyers fans. That being said, it isn’t always quick and easy to exit the Complex. Swarms of pedestrians make it tough to navigate the lanes and find your way to an exit. But once you’re in line at a traffic light, you should have smooth sailing to the interstate or down Broad Street.
Public transit is an alternative option, as there’s a SEPTA subway stop conveniently located at the Complex. NRG Station, perhaps the only corporate-sponsored station in the nation, is about a 5-minute walk from the doors of Wells Fargo Center. Following Flyers home games, northbound trains are parked and waiting at the station, ready to take the hordes of fans back to Center City and the Fern Rock Transportation Center.
Return on Investment 3
Philly, and the Northeast in general, is a very expensive region. Unfortunately, that means a Flyers game day experience will really put a dent in your wallet.
Your best bet for tickets is to look on the secondary market. The Flyers have a lot of season ticket holders, so single-game tickets at the source are hard to come by. Depending on the opponent, upper-level seats on third-party sites will run you $50-$80. They only go up from there.
Parking is outrageously expensive, with rates starting at $22. Some closer, more “premier” lots can run you up to almost $45, though there isn’t much reason to park there instead of the cheaper areas.
Combined with the pricey concessions at the arena, you should expect to dish out at least $400 for a family of four. Here’s the breakdown: ~$60 tickets (x4) + $15 entrées (x4) + $6 drinks (x4) + $22 parking = $346, plus a little extra as a cushion.
The Flyers’ new mascot, Gritty, took the sports world by storm when he debuted a few seasons ago. The grungy and harried thing, of a species yet to be determined, was polarizing immediately upon his debut. You either loved Gritty or you hated Gritty, there was no middle ground. But both fans and haters alike should be able to agree that his incorporation into the Flyers franchise has given the team some much-needed local and national attention. You’ll find Gritty roaming the concourses of the Wells Fargo Center prior to games; after puck-drop, you’ll see him in the stands causing trouble amongst the fans. In Philadelphia, he fits right in.
And for folks who want to show off their Gritty fandom, there’s a “Get Grittified” salon on the main concourse. Here, you can choose from a range of hairstyling and facepainting options that’ll scream Gritty to everyone you meet. Prices start at $5 and go all the way up to $100 – the ultimate package. (A photo of the “menu” has been attached above if you want to pre-plan your makeover.)
A handful of extra points should also be given for the arcade and table games located on the lower and upper level concourses. Whether it’s basketball, foosball or air hockey, there are many games that cater to both Flyers and 76ers fans of all ages. Additionally, a “Rage Room” was installed prior to the 2019-20 season, allowing those crazy Philly fans to express their anger in a non-violent setting. This room is exactly what it sounds like: for a fee, fans can smash plates, televisions, or a variety of other items that are branded with that day’s opponent. This concept is unique to the Wells Fargo Center and it’ll be interesting to see if any other cities replicate what the Flyers and 76ers pioneered.
Finally, as silly as it may sound, the team deserves a little something extra for maintaining such a clean and fresh building. With basketball, hockey and lacrosse games, in addition to concerts, being hosted throughout the season, it’s difficult to keep an arena this spotless.
The Wells Fargo Center should be the pride and joy of Philadelphia sports fans everywhere. The Flyers, as they continue their chase for their first Stanley Cup since 1975, have provided their fans with a contemporary and exciting arena, and an atmosphere to match. Whether it’s the blast of heat from the moving scoreboard or the novel new concession items that blow you away, make a hockey game in South Philadelphia a priority. It’s Now or Never.