The entire city of Philadelphia was thrilled earlier this month when news broke that The Wells Fargo Center would be permitting fans once again.
Almost exactly one year since the world of sports went dark, the WFC would be lit up and filled with the most loyal (and rowdy) fanbase in the nation.

While the city was excited to get back to rooting on their favorite teams in person, 361 days is a long time to go without.

The journey to a new normal can be intimidating and scary for some, so I decided to talk to fans who’ve attended games and those who are still waiting.


What exactly is the experience of a Sixers game in 2021?

Do those fans staying home have reason to be cautious? 


An overwhelming majority of fans who have attended games this past month state that they felt “extremely safe.” 


Alicia of Upper Darby said that while she was “nervous” to attend games in person again, she felt that the Wells Fargo Center and Sixers organization did a wonderful job following safety precautions. 

“When I learned that fans would be welcomed back, I went back and forth on if I would attend one of the first games or not. However, after looking at all of the steps that the WFC had taken and the amount of time and money they spent on making it a safe experience for all, I felt much more comfortable.”


Alicia states that the game was enjoyable from start to finish.

“While they took all the right steps including health screenings, mandatory mask wear, social distancing and more, the game was still extremely enjoyable and had the great atmosphere that Philly fans are used to, and quite frankly have been craving this past year.”


Photo: Sports Illustrated

When she says that the Wells Fargo Center spent a lot of money and time to make games as safe as possible, she isn’t kidding. During the last 12 months, the arena underwent an 11 million dollar renovation of its HVAC system. This means that the air inside is replaced every half hour. In February, they were given the International WELL Building Institute’s health-safety rating. A state of the art rating of an arena’s health protocols.

About 90% of fans that I polled and talked to over various forms of social media agreed that the games they’ve attended felt safe. Most pointed out what a great job staff is doing when it comes to social distancing and enforcing masks. When I myself attended a game a few weeks back, I was extremely impressed by the work done throughout the entirety of the evening. The staff was friendly but stern in reminding patrons to keep their masks over their nose and mouth and to remain at a safe distance when possible.

Although the Wells Fargo Center and the NBA are taking all of the necessary steps to make sure the fans return to games is safe, some don’t feel comfortable seeing their team in person just yet. Those waiting stated that they would feel much better attending once they were fully vaccinated. 


One Sixers fan, who has asked to remain anonymous, says that his hesitation to return had nothing to do with the lack of safety precautions and more to do with his own situation. 

“I’m around a family that is high-risk, and as much as I’d love to attend a game- I need to put their health first. I think the city of Philadelphia has done a great job, but I’ll probably wait until next year to head back to the stands.”


All in all, the choices one makes during a global pandemic are very personal, and no matter how safe an arena may be, fans must do what is best for them and their own well-being. 

I will continue to attend games in Philadelphia and would like to applaud all of the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes. The Wells Fargo Center staff has done an excellent job ensuring fans’ health and safety, and I’m sure the Sixers players appreciate it as much as we do. Home court advantage is crucial to this team, and as Ben Simmons stated back in 2019: The Sixers are scared to lose in front of their home fans.


For more information on tickets and the health and safety precautions that the Wells Fargo Center has taken, please visit www.WellsFargoCenterPhilly.com.

Featured Image: Sports Illustrated
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