December 27, 2017
By: Steve Degler
Late on Christmas Eve, I was flipping through channels when I came across a repeat on NBC Sports Philadelphia. It was an hour-long documentary on the Philadelphia Spectrum. Even though I had seen the show before, I put the remote down and enjoyed the memories.
I have absolutely nothing against the Wells Fargo Center. It is a fabulous building that is bigger and brighter than the Spectrum with all the bells and whistles. But it's not the Spectrum.
The arena opened in 1967 as the home to the Philadelphia 76ers and the expansion Philadelphia Flyers. Billing itself as "America's Showplace," the Spectrum was home to many big sporting and musical events before closing its doors in 2009. There weren't too many bad seats in the house and concerts sounded phenomenal. The two things I remember most about the Spectrum are how fans seemed to be right on top of the court or ice and how loud that place could get. The fans and the atmosphere gave the Flyers and Sixers a huge advantage over opponents.
I had the good fortune to attend my share of concerts and Flyers and 76ers games there. And I was lucky enough to get to work there on many occasions. When I started announcing La Salle basketball games in 1997, the Explorers called the Spectrum their home court. And I worked several Atlantic 10 Conference tournament games there as well.
My last assignment there was a Flyers Cup final. The building would be closed and eventually demolished to make way for Xfinity Live. I remember walking the concourse of the Spectrum one final time after the hockey game had ended. I had a ton of memories from that building. Games and concerts seen in person and on television over the years. It was nice to take in a little nostalgia. But the arena had clearly seen better days.
I enjoyed taking that little trip down memory lane Sunday night. The Spectrum held a lot of history. If I ever come across that documentary in the future, you can bet I'm watching it again.