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Philadelphia Sports Complex

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2015

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Home of the Philadelphia Eagles, Flyers, Phillies and 76ers!

The History

In 1965 the homes of Philadelphia’s professional sports teams were scattered throughout the city.  The Eagles played at Franklin Field on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, the 76ers played nearby in West Philadelphia’s Civic Center and the Phillies played all the way up in North Philadelphia’s Connie Mack Stadium.  The Flyers on the other hand did not yet have a home as Philadelphia had just been awarded a franchise and the team had yet to begin its inaugural season.
The Flyers considered a number of locations for their new arena but ultimately decided on a location in South Philadelphia near the Delaware River and the Philadelphia Navy Yard.  The vast open space had been used as fairgrounds for the 1926 sesquicentennial celebration that commemorated 150 years of American independence. The site was already the home of one sports arena, Sesquicentennial Stadium (later John F. Kennedy Stadium), which had been constructed as part of the Independence Day celebrations.  JFK Stadium hosted Eagles games briefly in the 1930s and early 1940s and was also the location of over 40 annual Army-Navy football games.  The stadium was also home to many concerts including a Beatles concert and the American portion of the charity concert Live Aid.
The Flyers new arena would be called the Spectrum and was constructed directly to the north of JFK Stadium on Broad Street.  The arena was the first modern mixed use arena built in Philadelphia and upon its completion it not only became the first home of the Philadelphia Flyers but also the new home of the 76ers as well.  By the time the Spectrum opened in 1967 construction had already started on another stadium directly north of the Spectrum to host the Eagles and Phillies.
The new mixed use Eagles and Phillies stadium was named Veterans Stadium by the Philadelphia City Council as a memorial to veterans of all American wars.  The large 65,000 seat stadium would officially open in 1971 with a Phillies victory over the visiting Montreal Expos.  With the Phillies and Eagles now moving to Veterans Stadium, all of Philadelphia’s major sports teams played their home games at the intersection of Broad and Pattison Streets in South Philadelphia.  The area would soon become known as the Philadelphia Sports Complex.
As the Spectrum and Veterans Stadium aged, the future of the Philadelphia Sports Complex seemed uncertain as it appeared as though one or more of Philadelphia’s sports teams would move to another location within the city.  In the end, all four teams remained in the Sports Complex.  The Flyers and Sixers moved to the Wells Fargo Center  in 1996, the Eagles moved to Lincoln Financial Field in 2003 and the Phillies moved to Citizens Bank Park in 2004.  With JFK Stadium, the Spectrum and Veterans Stadium now demolished, the Philadelphia Sports Complex consists of three world class venues with a combined capacity of 133,000 people.  Every year nearly 400 events are held in Sports Complex which are attended by 8 million people.
Citizens Bank Park - Photo by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™

What to See

The best thing to see at the Sports Complex is of course a sporting event!  All home games for the Phillies, Flyers, 76ers and Eagles are played within the complex.  Besides the four major Philadelphia Sports teams, the Philadelphia Sports Complex is also home to the Philadelphia Soul of the AFL, Temple Owls Football and select Villanova Wildcats Basketball games.  The complex also hosts international soccer games, track and field events, Army-Navy Football games and various all-star games and tournaments.
Besides athletic competitions, the Sports Complex is a popular place to catch a concert as all 3 major stadiums and arenas have hosted a number of concerts in their history.  Bruce Springsteen has successfully sold out the Spectrum and Wells Fargo Center a combined 53 times (more than any other artist) and a banner hangs in the rafters of Wells Fargo Center commemorating this accomplishment.
In recent years the Philadelphia Sports Complex has made efforts to make the area a 24/7 entertainment district regardless of whether or not a sporting event is being hosted.  When Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004, a large street level sports bar was incorporated into the design that is open even when the Phillies aren’t playing.  In 2012 Xfinity Live! opened where the Spectrum once stood.  Xfinity Live! is a dining and entertainment complex that houses six different bars, outdoor concert areas, and even a mechanical bull!  In the coming years there are plans to expand Xfinity Live! with the Live! Hotel and Casino, a proposed gambling and entertainment complex that will also include a 220 room hotel.

Insider Tips

Even if your trip to Philadelphia doesn’t allow for enough time to catch a game, you can still view Philadelphia’s stadiums on a guided tour.   Citizens Bank, Lincoln Financial Field and the Wells Fargo Center all offer guided tours of their stadiums.  These in depth tours allow visitors to learn a bit about the history of each stadium and to visit unique areas that are normally off limits.  Each tour allows for fans to enter the team locker rooms and view other behind the scenes locations.
For school groups who are coming to Philadelphia to take a field trip with The Constitutional Walking Tour, a stadium tour can be the perfect compliment.  After spending the morning walking in the footsteps of America’s Founding Fathers, children can spend the afternoon walking in the footsteps of their favorite professional athletes.  The tours contain a number of interactive opportunities for children to participate in, including a “Press Conference” or even a chance to run on the field.  There are even some educational components as well, students can learn how the Flyers make their ice or how a jumbotron works.

How to Get There

All of the stadiums and arenas of the Philadelphia Sports Complex are easily reached using public transit.  AT&T Station, the last stop on southbound Broad Street Line trains provides easy access to every event.  Septa even runs special express trains on the Broad Street Line to make getting to your favorite sporting event even easier.
The Philadelphia Sports Complex is also easily reached by car as it located near exits of both I-95 and I-76.  Guests of The Constitutional Walking Tour will find themselves at the National Constitution Center upon the completion of their tour, from there drivers should head south on 6th Street to Market Street and make a left.  Follow Market Street until it becomes an onramp for I-95 South.  Merge onto I-95 and take exit 17 to Broad Street.  There is plenty of parking in the vicinity, even for school buses.  


Varies by event. A calander of upcoming Philadelphia Sports Complex events can be viewed here.

Additional Information

3601 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148
For Tour Information Click Here
1020 Pattison Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19148
For Tour Information Click Here
One Citizens Bank Way
Philadelphia, PA 19148
For Tour Information Click Here

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