Wachovia Spectrum
The Spectrum, America's Showplace
Location 3601 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19148
Broke ground June, 1966
Opened September 30, 1967
Closed October 31, 2009
Owner Comcast Spectacor
Operator Global Spectrum
Construction cost $7 million
Former names The Spectrum (1967–1994)
CoreStates Spectrum (1994–1998)
First Union Spectrum (1998–2003)
Tenants Philadelphia Flyers (NHL; 1967–1996)
Philadelphia 76ers (NBA; 1967–1996)
Philadelphia Wings (National Lacrosse League (1974-75)
Capacity 18,369 (concerts)
18,136 (basketball)
17,380 (hockey & AFL)

The Wachovia Spectrum (formerly known as the Spectrum (1967–1994), CoreStates Spectrum (1994–1998) and First Union Spectrum (1998–2003) is an indoor arena located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as part of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex. Completed in 1967, it seats 18,136 for basketball and 17,380 for ice hockey, Arena football, indoor soccer, and indoor lacrosse. The building will be closed and demolished following a four-night concert with Pearl Jam on October 27th, 28th, 30th and 31st, 2009; afterwards, the arena will be razed to make way for a new hotel in conjunction with the Philly Live! complex.


Opened as "The Spectrum" in the Fall of 1967, Philadelphia's first modern indoor sports arena was originally built to be the home of the expansion Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL, and also to accommodate the existing Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association. The building was the second major sports facility built at the South end of Broad Street in an area previously known as "East League Island Park" and now referred to simply as the "South Philadelphia Sports Complex."

Early yearsEdit

The Spectrum was conceived and built to accommodate expansion of the NHL into Philadelphia which was awarded an expansion team for the 1967–68 season. Ground was broken on the arena on June 1, 1966 by Jerry Wolman and then Philadelphia Mayor James Tate. Construction was finished in 16 months at a cost of $7 million. The first event at the arena was the Quaker City Jazz Festival on September 30, 1967, produced by Larry Magid. The 76ers moved there from Philadelphia Civic Center.

On March 1, 1968, high winds blew a portion of the covering off the Spectrum's roof during a performance of the Ice Capades forcing the building to close for a month while Mayor James Hugh Joseph Tate fought with Philadelphia DA Arlen Specter over responsibility for the construction of the roof, and the damage was repaired. While the 76ers were able to move their home games to Convention Hall or to the Palestra, neither of those arenas had ice rinks at the time and there were no other NHL-quality sites in the Philadelphia area. Thus the Flyers hurriedly moved their next home game (against the Oakland Seals) to Madison Square Garden in New York followed by a meeting with the Boston Bruins played at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto before establishing a base at Le Colisée in Quebec City, home of their top minor league team, the AHL Quebec Aces, for the remainder of their regular season home schedule. (The roof was repaired in time to permit the Flyers to return to the Spectrum to open their first ever Stanley Cup play-offs against the St. Louis Blues on April 4, 1968.) Similarly in 1993, the Flyers played a day game against the Los Angeles Kings during a blizzard. A piece of flying debris smashed out one of the concourse windows causing cancellation of the game just after the first period was finished.

Because of its location the Flyers of the 1970s soon became popularly known as the "Broad Street Bullies."

Flyers and 76ers' championships and All-Star Games hostedEdit


The Spectrum's ice rink

The Flyers won their first Stanley Cup at the Spectrum on May 19, 1974, defeating the Boston Bruins, 1-0, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals in front of a then-capacity crowd of 17,007. Perhaps the most important and emotional hockey game -- or sporting event of any kind -- ever held there, however, came at the height of the Cold War on January 11, 1976, when the Flyers became the first NHL team to defeat (by 4-1) the then vaunted hockey team of the Soviet Central Red Army (CSKA). Two games in the inaugural Canada Cup hockey tournament were also held at the Spectrum in September of that year, as the USA took on Czechoslovakia and the USSR.

Ten NHL or NBA playoff championship series were hosted at the Spectrum with the Flyers competing in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1985 and 1987, and the 76ers playing in the NBA Finals in 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1983. The 1976 and 1992 NHL, and 1970 and 1976 NBA All-Star Games were also held here. The AHL Phantoms also won their first Calder Cup title on Spectrum ice before a sell-out crowd of 17,380 on June 10, 1998, by defeating the Saint John Flames, 6–1.

The Spectrum is the only venue to host the NBA and NHL All-Star Games in the same season, doing so in 1976, when it also hosted that year's NCAA Basketball Final Four. It is also one of a handful of venues to host the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals at the same time, doing so in 1980 (all four major Philadelphia teams would reach the championship round of their respective sport in the 1980 season).

The Flyers and 76ers' moveEdit

Although both the Flyers and 76ers moved across the parking lot to the new and larger Wachovia Center in 1996, the arena remained in place and was used by the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL, the Philadelphia Kixx of the National Indoor Soccer League, the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League for Saturday home games, and a variety of other sporting events and concerts.

The Flyers and 76ers had been in need of a new facility for some time. One reason was the need for more revenue streams to meet skyrocketing operating costs. The Spectrum has relatively few luxury suites or other amenities common in newer arenas.

In addition, the arena's sight lines left much to be desired. Some seats in both the hockey and basketball configurations (especially in the upper level) had badly obstructed views. There was only one concourse for all three levels, making for somewhat cramped conditions whenever attendance was anywhere near capacity.

End of an eraEdit

Spectrum remember

A special logo is being used for the final season of the Spectrum's use, featuring the arena's original pre-1994 logo and nickname.

On July 14, 2008, Comcast Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider officially announced that the Spectrum will be shuttered and torn down to make way for the Philly Live! complex, originally planned to be at the end of the 2008-2009 hockey and soccer seasons, but now October 31, 2009. “This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” said Snider. “The Spectrum is my baby. It’s one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me.”

The Phantoms commemorated the final season of the Spectrum by wearing a special patch on their uniforms, as illustrated on the right. The team also celebrated some of the building’s memorable moments throughout the season. The Flyers marked the last season by playing two-preseason games at the Spectrum. They played the Carolina Hurricanes in an NHL pre-season game on September 27, 2008 and the Phantoms on October 7th of that same year. Before the game against Carolina, the Flyers honored their team captains who had played at the arena. Those honored in the pre-game ceremony were Lou Angotti, Ed Van Impe, Bob Clarke, Mel Bridgman, Bill Barber, Dave Poulin, Ron Sutter, Kevin Dineen, Eric Desjardins, Keith Primeau, and Derian Hatcher.

The Phantoms' last regular season game at the Spectrum was played April 10, 2009 against the Hershey Bears, as the Phantoms won the game, 5-2, while the last Kixx game was against the Massachusetts Twisters on March 22. The Phantoms were sold to a Pittsburgh-based ownership group, and have moved to Glens Falls, New York for the 2009-10 season.

Spectrum panorama

The four decade old Wachovia Spectrum (center), the oldest (1967) of the four venues which now make up Philadelphia's massive "Sports Complex," Citizens Bank Park (right), its newest (2004) facility, tree lined S. Broad St. (left), and the city's expansive skyline along the horizon to the North, as viewed from the roof of the Wachovia Center (1996). (Composite panoramic digital image by Bruce C. Cooper,


A statue of Sylvester Stallone, depicting him in his famous role of Philadelphia boxer Rocky Balboa, stood for many years in front of the main (Pattison Avenue) entrance of the Spectrum which had been represented in the movie to be the site of Rocky's first and second fights with Apollo Creed. (The arena in which the fight sequences were actually filmed was the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.) The statue was removed several times over the years to be used in the filming of sequels to the original film. In September 2006, however, it was given a new home in an area near the base of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art not far from where it had appeared in a spot on the plaza at the top of the Museum's steps in the film Rocky III. However, since it was not deemed to be "art," it has been moved around the corner of the museum on Kelly Drive. Other statues in the arena footprint include:

  • "Score!", a statue depicting Gary Dornhoefer's game winning overtime goal in Game Five of the Flyers' 1973 Stanley Cup Playoffs quarterfinal series against the Minnesota North Stars;
  • A statue of Kate Smith, the Flyers' good luck charm, whose rendition of God Bless America by Irving Berlin is believed to have helped the Flyers become back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions in 1974 and 1975;
  • A statue of Julius Erving, who played for the Philadelphia 76ers from 1976 until 1987.

It is not known where these statues will be placed when the arena is razed.

Former TenantsEdit

Full timeEdit

  • Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL
  • Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association
  • Both incarnations of the Philadelphia Wings (National Lacrosse League, Philadelphia Wings (1987-1996)
  • Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL
  • Philadelphia KiXX of the National Professional Soccer League
  • Philadelphia Bulldogs of the Roller Hockey International
  • Philadelphia Freedoms of World Team Tennis
  • Philadelphia Fever of the Major Soccer League

Part timeEdit

  • Villanova University Men's Basketball of the NCAA Big East Conference.
  • Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League (when the Wachovia Center was not available)

Notable eventsEdit

External linksEdit


Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Philadelphia Flyers

1967 – 1996
Succeeded by
Wachovia Center
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Philadelphia Phantoms

1996 – 2009
Succeeded by
Glens Falls Civic Center
Preceded by

Montreal Forum
Chicago Stadium
Host of the
NHL All-Star Game

Succeeded by

Pacific Coliseum
Montreal Forum
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