It has been a season full of highlight-reel material and milestone moments for the Philadelphia 76ers (47-21, No. 1 in the East). However, a certain sour note has continued to sound despite the myriad positive developments that the team has experienced this year.
Specifically, the grim reality that precious few fans have actually been allowed to witness the action live due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the regular season reaches its conclusion and the Sixers turn their attention to playoff hoops and the pursuit of an NBA championship, though, Philly’s famously passionate fans could once again find themselves descending upon the Wells Fargo Center in multitudes.
On Tuesday, the city of Philadelphia announced changes to its capacity restrictions that could have a major impact on the Sixers’ home-court advantage for postseason play.
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Wells Fargo Center Will See Major Uptick in Allowed Attendance This Month
As relayed by The Philadelphia Inquirer, the city announced that all capacity limits will finally be lifted on June 11.
In the meantime, the Sixers will be allowed to up their attendance to 50% of capacity at the Wells Fargo Center. The club is currently only allowing enough fans in to fill 25% of the arena. The bump in attendance will begin in time for the Sixers’ first playoff game, which could be contested as early as May 22.
Sixers coach Doc Rivers was ecstatic to hear that more of the Philly faithful will be there to support his squad. He also offered some major praise for the limited number of people who have seen the Sixers play already this season.
“I am really happy for our home games that we are going to have more fans,” Rivers said. “I mean, the fans we have now, it feels like it’s a sold-out arena. You know, so adding more fans only adds to that. And I think our fan base is as good as anyone, so it’s a good thing for us.”
Philly’s president of business operations, Chris Heck, was similarly stoked to hear the news.
“We are thrilled by the city’s decision to increase capacity to 50% in time for the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs,” he said in a tweeted statement. “Our fans have created the most passionate and intense atmosphere in the NBA, and that gives us the type of home-court advantage our players can feed off in the postseason.”
“We hope this is only the beginning and look forward to welcoming back even more fans throughout the playoffs.”
In spite of the capacity limits, the Sixers have compiled an impressive 27-7 mark at home this season.
Sixers Sneaker Auction Scores Big for the Community
On May 6, the Sixers Youth Foundation tipped off an auction of game-worn sneakers to benefit the local youth of the Delaware Valley. The virtual event just reached its conclusion, which resulted in a considerable sum of money for the effort.
As announced via Sixers.com, over $300,000 was raised in the auction, which Foundation chair Marjorie Harris and her husband — Sixers managing partner Josh Harris — pledged to match. That brings the total raised to well over a half-million dollars.
Joel Embiid’s signature Under Armour Embiid Ones fetched the highest sum, with a closing price of $20,100. Meanwhile, Ben Simmons’ Nike Air Zoom BB NXTs were auctioned for a cool $14,100.