The Spectrum (Philadelphia): Wikis


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Wachovia Spectrum
The Spectrum, America's Showplace
Wachovia Spectrum.svg
Wachovia Spectrum
Former names The Spectrum (1967–1994)
CoreStates Spectrum (1994–1998)
First Union Spectrum (1998–2003)
Wachovia Spectrum (2003-2009)
Location 3601 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19148
Broke ground June, 1966
Opened September 30, 1967
Closed October 31, 2009
Owner Comcast Spectacor, L.P.
Operator Global Spectrum
Construction cost $7 million
Capacity 18,369 (concerts)
18,136 (basketball)
17,380 (hockey & AFL)
Philadelphia Flyers (NHL; 1967–1996)
Philadelphia 76ers (NBA; 1967–1996)
Philadelphia Wings (NLL I {Original franchise 1974-75} and II {Current franchise 1987–1996})
Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL; 1996-2009)
Philadelphia KiXX (NPSL/MISL II/NISL; 1996-2009)
Philadelphia Soul (AFL; 2004-2008; selected home games)
Philadelphia Freedoms (WTT; 1974)
Philadelphia Bulldogs (RHI; 1994–1996)
Philadelphia Fever (MISL I; 1978-1981)

The Wachovia Spectrum, formerly known as the Spectrum (1967–1996), CoreStates Spectrum (1996–1998) and First Union Spectrum (1998–2003) is a closed indoor arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Opened in the Fall of 1967 as part of what came to be known as the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, it eventually seated 18,136 for basketball and 17,380 for ice hockey, Arena football, indoor soccer, and indoor lacrosse after several expansions of its seating capacity. The building was formally closed on October 31, 2009, after a four-night concert by Pearl Jam. The arena is scheduled to be razed to make way for a hotel in the Philly Live! complex.[1]



Opened as "The Spectrum" in fall 1967, Philadelphia's first modern indoor sports arena was built to be the home of the expansion Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL, and also to accommodate the existing Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA. 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 years

Ground was broken on the arena on June 1, 1966, by Jerry Wolman and then-Philadelphia Mayor James Tate.[2] 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,[3] produced by Larry Magid.[4] The 76ers moved there from Convention Hall. Lou Scheinfeld, former President of the Spectrum, explained that the name "Spectrum" was selected to evoke the broad range of events to be held there. "The 'SP' for 'sports' and 'South Philadelphia,' 'E' for 'entertainment,' 'C' for 'circuses,' 'T' for 'theatricals,' 'R' for 'recreation,' and 'UM' as 'um, what a nice building!" Scheinfeld also said that a seat in the city's first superbox initially cost $1,000 a year: "For every Flyers game, Sixers game, circus, you name it, you got 250 events for $1,000."[5]

On March 1, 1968, wind blew part 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 Tate fought with Philadelphia DA Arlen Specter over responsibility for the construction of the roof, and the damage was repaired.[6] The 76ers moved their home games to Convention Hall and to the Palestra, but 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. (The roof was repaired in time to permit the Flyers to return to the Spectrum to open their first Stanley Cup play-offs against the St. Louis Blues on April 4, 1968.)[7] 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, cancelling the game just after the first period.

In the 1970s, the venue's location on Broad Street and the team's reputation for fisticuffs led to the nickname "Broad Street Bullies".

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

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 vaunted hockey team of the Soviet Central Red Army (ЦСКА) [1]. 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. The Flyers competed in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1985 and 1987. The 76ers played 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 sellout 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 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).

College basketball tournaments

The Spectrum was used for many basketball tournaments, including Big Five games, eight Atlantic Ten Conference tournaments (1977, 1983, 1997-2002), the 1975, 1980 and 1992 NCAA East Regional (site of the famous last-second shot by Christian Laettner of Duke to beat Kentucky), and the 1976 and 1981 Final Fours (both won by Bobby Knight's Indiana Hoosiers). Smaller conferences preferred holding tournament games at this venue over the larger Center nearby.

Professional wrestling

Professional wrestling exhibitions promoted by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) were performed at the Spectrum on a regular basis during the 1980s and 1990's. As were the Flyers and 76ers games, many of these performances were telecast live by PRISM, a regional sports and movies cable channel with its production and broadcast facilities physically located in the Spectrum from its founding in September 1976, until it ceased operations on October 1, 1997.[8] (On that date PRISM was replaced by Comcast SportsNet located in the Wachovia Center.) Among the major WWF events which the building hosted were SummerSlam in 1990 [9], King of the Ring in 1995, and various other live shows featuring performers such as Hulk Hogan and others. After the WWF moved their shows into the adjacent Wachovia Center (opened in 1996) and Convention Hall at the Philadelphia Civic Center was closed (demolished in 2005), World Championship Wrestling (WCW) promoted their Philadelphia based shows at the Spectrum until the company was bought by the WWE in 2001.

Rock concerts

Popular music concerts have been staged at the Spectrum since the 1960s, which was renowned for its world-class acoustic properties.

  • Cream performed during their farewell tour there, supported by Lee Michaels.
  • The First Quaker City Rock Festival was an early all-star show there, featuring Moby Grape, The Chambers Brothers, Vanilla Fudge, and Big Brother & The Holding Company, among other acts.
  • The Doors performed a 95-minute show, a recording of which was released years later as "The Doors Live in Philadelphia '70".
  • The Grateful Dead played the Spectrum 53 times, by far the most of any musical act.
  • British Progressive rock band Yes played the Spectrum 32 times between 1971 and 2004, including a matinee show in 1974 for their Tales from Topographic Oceans tour.
  • Aerosmith played the venue 23 times between 1976 and 1994, including a few notorious performances in the late 1970s in which rowdy fans injured the band members with glass bottles and M-80s.
  • Pink Floyd played the Spectrum in 1972, 1973, 1975 and 1977. They last played two shows there on June 28 and 29, 1977, during their Animals/In the Flesh tour. On the second night (June 29, 1977), Floyd member Roger Waters fell ill and did most of the show after a painkiller injection. However, the painkiller wore off and was taken to the hospital and missed the final encore of "Us and Them" where second guitarist Snowy White had to fill in on bass guitar. Unbeknownst to the crowd, this was the first time that the rest of Pink Floyd (guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour, drummer Nick Mason and keyboard player Rick Wright) performed a song live without Waters (they would go on without Waters as of 1986). Roger's experience performing while ill at this venue would be documented on "Comfortably Numb".
  • The Who performed at the Spectrum throughout the 1970s. The 1973 show was documented in a famous audio bootleg of their Quadrophenia performance. A CD has been released of John Entwistle's performance on March 15, 1975, when he opened for Humble Pie.
  • Genesis regularly played the venue during the Phil Collins era from 1977 to 1986 (they would play Veterans Stadium on their 1992 We Can't Dance tour and the Wachovia Center on their 2007 Turn it on Again reunion tour). Their three November 1983 performances on the band's Mama Tour were recorded for a US FM radio broadcast and was released as a bootleg entitled "Three Nights in Philly".
  • Kiss performed live during the Crazy Nights tour in 1987. The concert can been seen on the 3rd disk of Kissology Volume Two: 1978–1991, although footage is incomplete.
  • One of the most memorable performances came on the night of December 9, 1980. After learning of the assassination of John Lennon following a performance there the night before, Bruce Springsteen opened the show with a statement regarding Lennon and said, "It’s a hard thing to come out and play but there’s just nothing else you can do." With members of the E Street Band in tears, Springsteen and his band put on 34-song marathon which ended nearly 3 and 1/2 hours later with a scorching version of Twist and Shout.
  • The hard rock band Dio, fronted by vocalist Ronnie James Dio played the Spectrum frequently in the 80's. Two of the mid 80's appearances were filmed and released commercially. The first of these even went by the name "A Special at the Spectrum" (and as later released on DVD in the 2000's under the name "We Rock").
  • The final events at the legendary arena took place on October 27, 28, 30, and 31, 2009 by Pearl Jam. The band came to the stage each night after a video montage of memorable Spectrum moments followed by the Rocky theme music. Over the four nights, Pearl Jam performed 103 different songs, with its final night on Halloween lasting over 3 hours and 35 minutes and including 41 songs[10].

Other artists to perform at The Spectrum include Jimi Hendrix (1969), Queen (1977, 1978, 1980 and 1982; and in 2006 as Queen + Paul Rodgers), Elvis Presley (1977), Guns N' Roses (1992), Dio (1983, 1986), Phish (nine times between 1995 and 2003), U2 (1984, 1987, 1992), Frank Sinatra (several occasions between 1968 and 1994), Dire Straits (1992) and Rush (1994).

Spectrum Theater

The Spectrum Theater was a venue for acts not big enough to fill the entire Spectrum arena. The stage was placed in the middle of the Spectrum floor, and the other half of the arena behind the stage was closed off with curtains, creating a theater-like environment. Some of the acts that played in this configuration included Frank Zappa in 1973, 1976 and 1977; David Bowie's Diamond Dogs Tour in 1974; Bob Marley's Natty Dread Tour in 1975 and Kaya Tour in 1978; Bruce Springsteen in 1976; Peter Gabriel's tour in 1982 and Howard Jones in 1987.

The Flyers and 76ers' move

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 NISL, 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.

Final season

A special logo was 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 instead on 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. [11]

The last NCAA basketball game the Spectrum hosted saw the Villanova Wildcats defeat the Pittsburgh Panthers on January 28, 2009.[12] The Sixers defeated the Chicago Bulls on March 13, 2009 by a score of 104-101 in the final NBA game in the Spectrum.[13][14] The game was sold-out and attendance was 17,563.[13][15]

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 indoor soccer team will move onto the Temple University campus and play the 2009-10 season at the Liacouras Center. The Phantoms were sold to a Pittsburgh-based ownership group, and moved to Glens Falls, New York for the 2009-10 season.

"With this season being the final season of the Wachovia Spectrum, we will celebrate the history of the Spectrum with an exciting, year-long, celebration of events," Comcast Spectacor President Peter Luukko said. Phish was rumored to be among the acts to commemorate the closing of the arena. "It is our hope and intent to bring back many of the musical acts and entertainers who have made the Spectrum 'America’s Showplace.'" Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played two shows at The Spectrum on April 28 and 29 as part of their Working on a Dream Tour, and returned on October 13-14 and 19-20 for their Spectrum swan song, followed by Pearl Jam on October 27, 28, 30 and 31 to close the building; their opening acts included Social Distortion on the 27th and 28th and Bad Religion on the 30th and 31st. A scheduled concert with Leonard Cohen on October 22 was moved to the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania instead. On October 23, 2009, Philadephia area musicians The Hooters, Todd Rundgren and Hall & Oates headlined a concert titled "Last Call". [2]. Tickets were as low as $6.00. The remaining members of The Grateful Dead; including Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann performed their final set of shows at the Spectrum on May 1 and 2, 2009; the May 2 show was their 54th consecutive sell out at the Spectrum. The Dead closed the May 2 show with the song Samson and Delilah. The song contains the fitting refrain "If I had my way, I would tear this old building down." The lyric was changed by bands singer Bob Weir to say "I wouldn't tear this old building down."

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,

The Spectrum's "Sports Complex" neighbors

The Spectrum was the oldest of the four currently existing arenas and stadiums (of the six built overall between 1926 and 2004) which make up Philadelphia's massive "Sports Complex" located at the South end of Broad Street. The Complex now occupies roughly a quarter of the 1926 site of Philadelphia's Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition, a massive 184-day World's Fair which ran from May 31 to November 30, 1926, on grounds bounded by 10th Street, Packer Ave., 23rd Street, and the U.S. Navy Yard (Terminal Avenue). The Spectrum now occupies the portion of the original Exposition grounds located on the south side of Pattison Avenue between Broad and 11th Streets that in 1926 was the site of the fair's expansive main trolley station operated by the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company.

When opened in 1967, the Spectrum sat just north of the then existing 102,000 seat John F. Kennedy Stadium (originally known from 1926 to 1964 as "Municipal Stadium"[16]) which had been built more than four decades earlier (opened April 15, 1926). On September 23, 1926, an announced crowd of 120,557 packed the then new Stadium -- in the rain -- to witness Gene Tunney capture the world's heavyweight boxing title from Jack Dempsey, and for decades the monolith also served as the "neutral" venue for a total of 42 annual Army–Navy Games. JFK Stadium was demolished in 1992 to make way for a new indoor arena, the Wachovia Center, which opened in August, 1996, and with the closure of the Spectrum, became the oldest facility in the complex. Originally known as the "CoreStates Center" (1996–1998) and then the "First Union Center" (1998–2003), the 20,000+ seat facility replaced the Spectrum as home to the Flyers, 76ers and the Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League.

For thirty-three years, Veterans Stadium (opened 1971, closed 2003, demolished 2004), the third facility built at the complex to accommodate the MLB Philadelphia Phillies and NFL Philadelphia Eagles, was located immediately north of the Spectrum directly across Pattison Avenue. The "Vet" was replaced by two new facilities: a purpose built football/soccer stadium, Lincoln Financial Field (opened 2003), which is located directly across 11th Street from the Wachovia Center, and a new dedicated baseball stadium, Citizens Bank Park (opened 2004), located at the northeast corner of Pattison Ave. and Citizens Bank Way (11th St.) immediately east of the former Veterans Stadium site which is now occupied by a parking lot for what some people, because of the sponsorships of the stadia, have dubbed "The Financial District".


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:

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

Former Tenants

Full time

Part time

Notable events


  1. ^ DiStefano, Joseph N. (September 4, 2008). "Spectrum owners seek Jersey sites for new arena". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved September 5, 2008.  
  2. ^ . Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved March 27, 2009.  
  3. ^ "Bulls game at Wachovia Spectrum highlights Sixers 2008-09 schedule". Philadelphia 76ers. Retrieved August 15, 2008.  
  4. ^ Klein, Michael (September 15, 2008). "Inqlings: Spectrum last blasts: Deafening, of course". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 19, 2008.  
  5. ^ October 19, 2009, Talk Philly, CBS3
  6. ^ Johnson, William (April 1, 1968). "A Heavy Blow In A Windy City". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved March 18, 2009.  
  7. ^, News: This Date In Flyers History... March 1, 1968... Roof Blows Off Of Spectrum.
  8. ^ Williams, Scott E. (2007). Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of ECW. Sports Publishing LLC. pp. 10. ISBN 1596700211.  
  9. ^ "SummerSlam History". Retrieved February 2, 2008.  
  10. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (Nov 3, 2009). "Pearl Jam closes Philly Spectrum with epic set". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-11-07.  
  11. ^ Carchidi, Sam (September 28, 2008). "Flyers captains bid farewell to Spectrum". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 13, 2009.  
  12. ^ Kern, Mike (January 29, 2009). "Nice parting gift for Spectrum: Villanova beats No. 3 Pitt". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved March 13, 2009.  
  13. ^ a b Gelston, Dan (March 13, 2009). "76ers close Spectrum with win over Bulls". Retrieved March 16, 2009.  
  14. ^ staff (March 14, 2009). "Saying goodbye to the Spectrum". Retrieved March 16, 2009.  
  15. ^ Fernandez, Bernard (March 14, 2009). "Sixers edge Bulls for thrilling Spectrum finale". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved March 15, 2009.  
  16. ^ Austin, E.L.; Odell Hauser (1929). "Chapter XXX "MUNICIPAL STADIUM"". The Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition. Philadelphia. pp. 419–423.  

Further Reading

External links

Coordinates: 39°54′15″N 75°10′16″W / 39.90417°N 75.17111°W / 39.90417; -75.17111


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