David Adelman, who chairs 76 Devco — the company seeking to build a new arena for the 76ers in downtown Philadelphia — is looking forward to the NBA team owning its own arena.
“They’ve been good landlords,” Adelman said to Front Office Sports Today of Comcast, which owns the Wells Fargo Center, the 76ers’ current home. “But I’m not convinced they understand what’s needed to operate an arena in the NBA today.”
The Wells Fargo Center recently underwent $400 million in renovations, but Adelman said those improvements, such as the additions of restaurants and luxury boxes, were “cosmetic” in nature.
“They rank near the bottom in almost every major category [in the NBA fan survey],” said Adelman. “Comcast is a technology company — and they rank near the bottom in the survey on technology experience.”
Asked if any amount of money would convince the team to stay, Adelman noted that previous Comcast Spectacor CEO and Philadelphia Flyers governor Dave Scott wasn’t attentive to the 76ers’ needs, while his replacement Dan Hilferty lacks experience in sports.
“Dan’s new to the sports business,” said Adelman. “I’m sure he’ll get up to speed. His predecessor didn’t do these things, and so we don’t have the things that we want our fans to have.”
Adelman, who made his riches in real estate, sees the Philadelphia 76ers current situation in those terms.
“Even my renters in my apartments want to own their own home,” Adelman said. “So all we want to do is live out our lease — it has another seven years left — and then we want to control our own destiny.”
The team aims to begin play in a privately funded arena in downtown Philadelphia in 2031, pending approval by local authorities.