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The Wachovia Center, formerly known as Spectrum II (prior to construction), CoreStates Center, and the First Union Center, is an indoor arena located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker, in the United Statesmarker. It is the home arena of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association, and the Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League. The arena was completed in 1996 on what was once the site of John F. Kennedy Stadiummarker (neé Philadelphia Municipal Stadium) at a cost of $206 million, largely privately financed (though the city and state helped to pay for the local infrastructure). The building lies at the southwest corner of the South Philadelphia Sports Complexmarker, which includes Lincoln Financial Fieldmarker, Citizens Bank Parkmarker, and the Wachovia Spectrummarker, its predecessor as home to the Flyers, 76ers, and Wings.

Name

From CoreStates to First Union to Wachovia

Before its construction, the proposed arena was tentatively called "Spectrum II". The arena was originally named for CoreStates Bank, which agreed to pay $40 million over 21 years for the naming rights, with additional terms to be settled later for an additional eight year period at the end of the contract. The naming rights were taken by First Union Bank in a merger in 1998 and then by Wachovia Bank in a 2003 merger with First Union.

While under the First Union name, it was affectionately referred to as the "F.U. Center" by Philadelphians. Due to this, a name alteration was considered, the "First Union National Center." However, this was met with much derision from fans and athletes who played in the facility, such as former Philadelphia Flyers forward Brantt Myhres, who said the name change would make the building sound like a "circus venue."

Battle between Citi and Wells Fargo

On September 29, 2008, the FDIC made moves to have Citigroup purchase all Wachovia banking operations during the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, which more than likely included the naming rights being transferred in the deal. But four days later, Wells Fargo purchased all Wachovia banking operations; Citigroup and federal regulators insisted that because Citigroup offered to buy Wachovia first and for much less (Citi offered $2.1 billion compared to Wells Fargo $15.1 billion), that Citi should purchase Wachovia. On October 9, Citigroup dropped the offer for Wachovia, and the Wells Fargo/Wachovia merger closed on December 31, 2008. The arena name will change once the integration between Wells Fargo and Wachovia takes place, and once the basketball and hockey seasons end.

Wells Fargo currently has its name on two other arenas, on the Arizona State Universitymarker campus in Tempemarker and in Des Moines, Iowamarker. The Des Moines venue is managed by Global Spectrum, which also manages the Wachovia Center.

Facilities

The arena officially seats 21,600 for basketball (NBA, NCAA) and 19,519 for hockey (NHL) and indoor ("box") lacrosse (NLL), although with additional standing room admissions available in suites for purchase by their lease holders the total paid capacity is actually somewhat greater. The Wachovia Center has 126 luxury suites, 1,880 club seats, and a variety of restaurants and clubs (both public and private) available for use by patrons. In addition, the offices, studios, and production facilities of CSN Philadelphia are all located in the facility.

On May 31, 1997, the building set the record for the highest attendance for a hockey game in the state of Pennsylvaniamarker (20,291) when the Flyers hosted the Detroit Red Wings in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The building also set a record for the highest attendance for a college basketball game in the state of Pennsylvania on February 13, 2006, when Villanova Universitymarker played and defeated the #1 ranked University of Connecticutmarker before a crowd of 20,859.

On August 1, 2006, Comcast Spectacor announced it would be installing a new center-hung scoreboard to replace the original one made by Daktronics. The new scoreboard, manufactured by ANC Sports is similar to other scoreboards in new NHL & NBA arenas. An additional linear LED display lining the entire arena was also installed between the suite and mezzanine levels. Other renovations for the building's 10th year anniversary included upgrading the suites with more flat screen HDTV's, as well as changing ticket providers from Ticketmaster to New Era Tickets, which is owned by Comcast Spectator.

The PA Announcer at the Wachovia Centermarker for Philadelphia Flyers games is Lou Nolan, who moved with the team from the Spectrummarker where he had worked since 1972.



Concerts

The Wachovia Center has held numerous concerts of big-name stars such as AC/DC, Aerosmith, Christina Aguilera,Coldplay, Alice in Chains, Barenaked Ladies, Beyoncé, Blink-182, Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, Mariah Carey, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Coldplay, Phil Collins, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Miley Cyrus, Dave Matthews Band, Neil Diamond, Celine Dion, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Genesis, Green Day, Don Henley, Janet Jackson, Jay-Z, Billy Joel, Elton John, Jonas Brothers, KISS, Korn, Avril Lavigne, Madonna, Barry Manilow, Paul McCartney, Metallica, George Michael, New Kids On The Block, Stevie Nicks, Oasis, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Phish, P!nk, The Police, Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Rolling Stones, Rush, Simon & Garfunkel, Britney Spears, Spice Girls, Bruce Springsteen, Gwen Stefani, Barbra Streisand, Justin Timberlake, Shania Twain, U2, Van Halen, Velvet Revolver, Roger Waters, The Who, Steve Winwood, Stevie Wonder, and Yanni.

The inaugural concert was on September 2, 1996 by Oasis with Manic Street Preachers and Screaming Trees. An estimated crowd of 12,000 attended the show.

On December 6, 2002, hard rock band Guns N' Roses were scheduled to perform there on their Chinese Democracy Tour. The opening bands (CKY, Mixmaster Mike) went on to perform as usual, but the main act, Guns N' Roses, never showed up, fueling a riot in the arena and causing about $30K-$40,000 in damage. No reason was ever given for the no-show of Guns N' Roses, other than the public announcer of the building citing that one of the band members was sick.

In 2006, Billy Joel set a Complex record for most sellouts at the Wachovia/First Union/CoreStates Center - 17, for a Philadelphia total of 46. Only the Grateful Dead have sold out more shows at the Complex - 53, all at the Spectrum.

In addition, hanging from the rafters of the Wachovia Center are two banners in the orange and black colors of the Flyers honoring both Billy Joel's 48 Philadelphia sellouts and Bruce Springsteen's 49 Philadelphia sellouts respectively (through October 2009 and includes two shows Joel did with Elton John at Citizens Bank Parkmarker).

Tenants

Full time: Part Time: Former (Part time):
  • Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL; The Flyers' AHL development club played some regular season and Calder Cup playoff games at the Center each season between 1996 and 2009 when the Wachovia Spectrum was unavailable because of other events.
  • Philadelphia Soul of the AFL; split games between the Center and the Wachovia Spectrum between 2004 and 2008; AFL folded in 2009.


Notable events



References

  1. Philadelphia Daily News Business Buzz Column. (Originated from Philadelphia Daily News) | Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News | Find Articles at BNET
  2. ESPN - Connecticut vs. Villanova - Box Score - February 13, 2006


External links




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