SugarHouse Part Of Wells Fargo Center’s New $265M Assembly Room

Written By Kevin Shelly on September 13, 2019

If they build it will young fans come to watch the Philadelphia Flyers for $25 a pop? Wells Fargo Center will find out when it opens its amenity-filled standing-room-only lounge space on the top-level of the arena.

Especially if it is “a decidedly historic Philadelphia-meets-modern ambiance and aesthetic” in a sports arena?

Well, maybe.

Still, getting younger fans in the building is the aim of the New City Terrace’s Assembly Room. That’s part of Comcast Spectacor’s $265 million, multi-year initiative called Transformation 2020.  Comcast and the Flyers announced details Thursday.

PlaySugarHouse is also banking on the concept to succeed. One of its two betting lounges will be located within New City Terrace as part of the new project.

Lounges are trending, as is sports betting

While the Assembly Room is not a sportsbook lounge in the strict sense, it can function as one, especially given its target demographic of fans less than 30.

In fact, the hottest trend in sports betting is referring to new brick-and-mortar books as “sports lounges,” rather than sportsbooks. Established venerable books are even getting makeovers to feel more like lounges, rather than an area purely to watch games and bet.

Call it the “loungification” of sports betting.

Part of the new partnership between SugarHouse Casino and the Flyers are two sports-themed lounges, open to anyone with a ticket. SugarHouse brand reps will staff the designated sports lounges to act as resources for those new to online sports gambling.

One of those sports lounges is coming to New City Terrace. It’s a nearly 6,500 -square-foot lounge with club seats, bar, tables, and a 22-feet by eight-feet tall video wall with dozens more video screens throughout the area.

That means anyone with a cell phone will also feel right at home placing sports bets from the new space.

The center and Flyer’s alliance for with SugarHouse is part of a trend with sportsbetting in PA.

Just recently, the Parx Casino and its sportsbook partnered with the Philadelphia Union soccer club and its Talen Energy Stadium.

And the Philadelphia 76ers, which play at the arena, have a standing sportsbetting partnership with Caesars Entertainment, the parent company of Harrah’s Philadelphia.

Harrah’s will launch its PA online sports betting app sometime this month. How Sixer’s betting affiliation will work out with SugarHouse now a fixture at the center with two dedicated lounges remains to be seen.

Details of the new Assembly Room

The Assembly Room will feature, among other things:

  • Two eateries
  • Two bars
  • Four functioning fireplaces
  • Game action screens
  • Communal dining and seating

Admission into the Assembly Room starts at $25. There will also be a season-long plan and several suites.

There’s a front-row season ticket option called Revolutionary Row, with plush seats and charging stations.

Also offered is Liberty Lofts, an open-plan suite of spaces located along the South end of the arena.

The space is inspired by Philadelphia’s Independence Hall and features original artwork from Nathan Loda highlighting famous residents of Philadelphia. Per the release, the club will also include two interactive, “step-in murals,” perfect for Instagrammable moments with friends.

The club design evokes a historic sensibility through carefully selected furnishing, architectural features, and finishes.

Some fans unconvinced by the club lounge concept

True-blue Philly sports team fan Jeff Mitchell, 40, is a GenXer, so just above the club initiative’s target age.

He thinks playing better hockey, winning games, and lowering ticket prices for regular seats might have been a smarter investment.

“Nothing about this seems authentically Philadelphia,” said Mitchell, who sees two of three Flyers games each season, but might see more if the ticket prices were lower.

But even at $25, he has no interest in standing around the new club level or sampling its lounge amenities.

“Fireplaces, mixologist, Original art? People are being priced out of seeing hockey games in Philadelphia. I dont think the answer to that is to place blue-collar hockey fans and families in some weird quasi-country club environment in the middle of the Wells Fargo Center. This is a move that seems to miss the mark on so many levels.

The Flyers, with this move, seem as clueless about the fanbase as they are about putting a good product on the ice. This sort of thing may be great for a concert, but this totally takes away from the fan experience of going to a game to cheer for your favorite team.”

Mithcell also points to free options, Chickie & Pete’s and Xfinity Live venues just outside the arena.

The new club level lounge offers $25 standing-room tickets

For each Flyers game, more than 750 standing room tickets are available at $25, according to the release. The club room is also open for Sixers games, but with price announced.

Valerie Camillo, president of business operations for the Flyers and the center explained the transformation’s aim in the release:

We viewed the New City Terrace as a place where we could be our most creative during the Transformation of the building. We sought to create a space that would be a destination unto itself- something that inspired people to buy a ticket because they just had to experience it.

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Kevin Shelly

Kevin C. Shelly is an award-winning career journalist who has spent most of his career in South Jersey. He's the former assistant city editor of The Press of Atlantic City, where he covered the casino industry and Atlantic City government as a reporter. He was also an investigative, narrative enterprise, and features reporter for Gannett’s Courier-Post.

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