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Philadelphia Sixers looking into building waterfront arena

Vincent Frank
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Jan 3, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; General view as Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) runs across the center court logo during the third quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers might be in for an offseason of change after being swept in the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs. That’s on the court.

Off the court, Philadelphia’s brass is looking to move out of a venue in that of the Wells Fargo Center that has hosted the team since the arena’s inception back in 1996.

Sixers looking into moving into new arena at Penn’s Landing

“The 76ers are exploring the possibility of building a new basketball arena at Penn’s Landing, and the team is lobbying local officials to get behind a plan to help finance construction with taxpayer support,” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Acquiring taxpayer support in Philadelphia to help finance a new sports venue won’t be the easiest endeavor for owner Josh Harris and Co. Local leaders have already questioned it, including Councilmember Helen Gym.

“I think a bunch of billionaire investors looking for a tax handout could take a break from lobbying us and focus on the actual priorities of this city,” she said. “A publicly funded sports stadium ranks about nowhere on that list.”

Sixers’ arena plan faces more local backlash

The plan is the latest that we’ve seen around the sports world. It includes building a waterfront arena and helping revitalize a certain part of the city.

That, too, has created some opposition locally.

Although, the Sixers’ brass does have the financial ability to bypass public support in terms of taxpayer money. According to Forbes, Mr. Harris is worth a cool $4.8 billion. Co-owner Michael Rubin is also said to be worth $3.5 billion.

Coupled with the rest of the investors, including actor Will Smith, the Sixers wouldn’t necessarily need public backing. The most-recent arena to be built in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center in San Francisco, cost a mere $1.4 billion to erect. The Warriors used private funds after San Francisco refused supply financing.

That could create a further issue between the NBA team and city leaders in Philadelphia. For now, the Sixers are aiming for the 2031 season to open a new venue.