Throughout the 2020-21 season, there have been a handful of things that the Philadelphia 76ers have just been able to depend on. Joel Embiid dominating in the paint, Ben Simmons’ mastery of perimeter defense and Tobias Harris being ultra-efficient while picking up the slack whenever needed immediately come to mind.
As ever, the crowd at Wells Fargo Center being one of the most passionate you’ll find league-wide has been something the Sixers can bank on, too. Even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendance limits it has necessitated, fans in Philadelphia have continued to bring incredible energy to the building.
That’s a reference to the positive energy, of course. Not the abhorrent, popcorn-throwing variety that has no place in civilized society.
Following Game 1 of the team’s first-round playoff series with the Washington Wizards, Sixers coach Doc Rivers was effusive in his praise of the South Philly crowd.
“I can’t believe that was 10-11,000 fans; it can’t be,” Rivers said, as relayed by CBSN Philly. “It felt like 30,000 people in the stands. They were amazing, let’s keep it going.”
As loud as the crowd was during the Sixers’ first two home games, though, it’s about to get a whole lot louder.
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Sixers Going Full-Capacity
In May, the Sixers were allowed to increase fan attendance at Wells Fargo to 50% of the building’s total capacity. As a result, close to 10,000 fans were able to watch live as the Sixers went up 2-0 on Bradley Beal and the Wizards.
It was also announced that the team would be allowed to go back to full fan attendance in mid-June. Now, it seems the big re-opening of the arena in its totality will be coming sooner than expected.
On Friday, Sixers president of business operations Chris Heck revealed via the team’s Twitter account that all businesses will be allowed to increase capacity to 100% beginning on June 2. That means nearly 20,000 screaming fans for the Sixers.
As it happens, that’s the same day the Sixers would square off with the Wizards if they end up ceding a game in D.C. Even if the series doesn’t make it to a fifth game, though, the club will be playing for a packed house starting the very next time they hit the hardwood in Philly.
Reduced fan attendance notwithstanding, the Sixers went 29-7 at home this season.
Heck’s Statement on the Attendance Bump
In his statement, Heck expressed gratitude and excitement about the latest development. He further emphasized that the role fans have to play in his team’s title aspirations is an important one.
“We would like to extend our gratitude to Mayor Kenney and the Philadelphia Department of Health for the work they’ve done to safely increase capacity to 100% for all businesses, effective June 2,” he said.
“There is no better time to welcome home our passionate and loyal fans than right now in the midst of what we hope will be a historic playoff run. Our fans provide a home-court advantage that is both unmatched and necessary as we work to bring an NBA championship to Philadelphia.”
He concluded by encouraging Sixers fans to do their part in combating the spread of COVID-19.
“We encourage everyone to get vaccinated and will continue to use our platform to educate and assist our community.”
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