SBJ/20090202/Facilities

Sixers rehabilitating championship court for Spectrum game

Philadelphia 76ers owner Comcast-Spectacor is going to great lengths to create a retro feel for the Sixers’ game against the Chicago Bulls at the Wachovia Spectrum on March 13, and that includes restoring the basketball floor used during their 1982-83 championship season.

The sports and entertainment conglomerate is spending $20,000 to $25,000 to recondition the floor, which has not been used since 1996, when the Sixers moved next door to their new arena. The floor, disassembled into 210 panels, has been shipped to Traditional Floor Co. in Atco, N.J., where workers will sand it down, and redesign and repaint the surface with the original Sixers and Spectrum logos before resealing it with 60 gallons of polyurethane.

The blue-and-green Wachovia brand, part of the building’s naming-rights deal, will also be visible on the court, which until now had the CoreStates logo on it.

The older arena was known as the CoreStates Spectrum in 1996. Through bank acquisitions, the arena has since changed its name to First Union Spectrum (1998) and Wachovia Spectrum (2003).

Heritage Hall (above) houses
USC athletics and its hardware.

The Spectrum will close for good at the end of September and could be taken down New Year’s Eve, according to Comcast officials. Whether it is demolished by a wrecking ball or imploded has yet to be determined, said company spokesman Ike Richman.

It’s still too early to tell whether Wachovia Center, current home to the Sixers and Flyers, will assume a fourth name in 13 years, based on Wells Fargo’s purchase of Wachovia in late 2008, Richman said. If so, it would be a record for a sports facility, according to SportsBusiness Journal research.

 WHERE ARE THE HEISMANS?: Southern Cal’s plan to build an extension to Heritage Hall, the on-campus facility housing the school’s athletics department since 1972, could include a hall of fame to display the football team’s seven Heisman Trophy replicas and championship hardware.

The proposal sent to architects to design the three-story structure comprising 85,720 square feet does not list a hall of fame among its nine space and programming needs, most accommodating the football team.

Cannon Design, HNTB, Rossetti and Urban Design Group interviewed for the project, and the school expected to select a winner late last week. As the architect moves forward with work that includes reallocating space in the existing facility, there could be room in the new building’s foyer for a “glitzy” hall of fame, said Carol Dougherty, senior associate athletic director.

The Heismans, John Wayne’s football jersey and other USC sports memorabilia are now displayed in glass cases on the main floor inside the east entrance of Heritage Hall.

“We have hundreds of people every single day come through to look at those trophies, and they are among the first things recruits are interested in seeing,” Dougherty said.

The original building supported 10 men’s sports and has been expanded three times in 37 years to fit a growing women’s sports program. “It’s not working very well for us,” she said. “That’s the whole reason for the extension.”

The project, which could reach $100 million, will not break ground until the athletic department has the money to pay for it, Dougherty said. Officials will rely on private donors and are open to selling corporate naming rights to cover construction costs.

“We are anxious to get the programming under way and get some renderings so we have materials for fundraising,” she said. Pete Carroll, Southern Cal’s football coach, “really wants it done as quickly as possible.”

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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