Comcast Spectacor is selling seats on Revolutionary Row, shown in a rendering, for roughly $5,000 apiece. Tickets to all Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers home games are included. (Courtesy Comcast Spectacor)
Revolutionary Row, Liberty Lofts will replace high-up suites
Wells Fargo Center officials are revamping the arena’s upper deck to feature Revolutionary Row, a new premium seat product sold as a combination ticket for fans of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and the NBA’s 76ers for the coming season.
The retrofit on Level 7, known as the balcony level, is tied to 280 seats that were previously front-row locations in suites at the top of the building. Wells Fargo Center had 26 of those suites when it opened in 1996. It was among the last big league arenas to position suites at the top of the highest level.
Over time, those units became a “distressed product” and often went unsold, said officials with Comcast Spectacor. The company owns the arena and Flyers and is privately funding the five-year, $260 million renovation. Most of those suites have been converted to Revolutionary Row. The exception is five rebuilt suites on the south end, marketed as Liberty Lofts.
Revolutionary Row seats cost roughly $5,000 a person and come with tickets to all Flyers and Sixers home games. There’s a group hospitality space behind the seats. Food and drink is a separate fee. The seats are equipped with cupholders and phone chargers.
Wells Fargo Center officials are marketing the seats as an entry level ticket for a premium experience. They just started selling the seats, and although no sales numbers were available, the response has been great, said Mike Shane, chief business officer for the arena and the Flyers.
“It’s been extremely popular,” Shane said. “While it’s high up in the building, many of our fans have always demanded a front row experience. There’s no one between you and the action but this one piece of (protective) glass.”
“A lot of arenas don’t know what to do with the top level,” said Shane, who’s been with Comcast Spectacor for four months after spending 12 years with the Washington Nationals. “For us, it would have been criminal to waste that front row option.”
The five Liberty Lofts are priced at $100,000 annually and come with 12 tickets for reserved seats for Flyers and Sixers games plus four standing-room tickets. They face the stage, and those patrons have first right to buy concert tickets. Officials expect the lofts to sell out for the coming season, Shane said.
SCI Architects, a subsidiary of Brisbin Brook Beynon in Toronto, is the architect for Wells Fargo Center upgrades. The firm specializes in big league arena renovations and lists New York City’s Madison Square Garden, Boston’s TD Garden and Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City among its projects.
“We were trying to bring the building into the modern era,” said Jeff Armstrong, SCI’s senior project director. “This was one of the last buildings to have suites installed at the top of the building. We renovated MSG and it was a similar situation. The main thing was to take those suites and transform them into something else.”
For the Liberty Lofts, SCI’s design eliminated all the suite corridors and walls between the individual suites, with new dividers standing five feet high and lighted panels to create a greater connection for those premium patrons. The approach was to open things up as much as possible, which was the theme throughout the 23-year-old arena, Armstrong said.
The arena’s 82 midlevel suites were all renovated during the past three years. By comparison, the newest NBA arenas have opened with fewer than 40 suites but a greater variety of smaller midpriced options. In Philly, there’s still demand for the traditional premium product.
“Our sell-through for suites is so strong that it doesn’t really make sense to take too many offline, which has been the trend in other markets,” said Valerie Camillo, president of business operations for the arena and the Flyers and another former Nationals executive.
At Wells Fargo Center, more premium upgrades are planned for the club level. Those improvements will be constructed in the summer of 2020 as part of the fifth and final phase of arena renovations, officials said.
A loge box product could be introduced on the club level for the 2020-21 season, but no decisions have been made, Armstrong said.
“They thought about getting rid of some midlevel suites and put in loges, but then suite sales picked up,” he said. “It’s a shifting landscape and if there’s any takeaway, it’s that you want to make things as flexible as possible.”
Editor’s Note: This story has been revised since it was posted. The architect for the Wells Fargo Center upgrades is SCI Architects.