The origins of Comcast Spectacor date back to 1967, when Ed Snider sought an opportunity to create a National Hockey League team in Philadelphia. Taking risks that most would never consider, Snider applied his courageous vision and management expertise to successfully acquire an NHL expansion team he named the Philadelphia Flyers. Soon after, he built the Spectrum to serve as the team’s first home.
The Flyers captured the Stanley Cup in 1974 and again in 1975, becoming the first expansion team to win the coveted trophy. The Flyers today continue to rank among the NHL’s elite franchises.
In 1996, Snider partnered with Comcast Corporation to create Comcast Spectacor. The new sports and entertainment venture that emerged included the Philadelphia Flyers, the Spectrum, the soon-to-open CoreStates Center (now Wells Fargo Center), the Philadelphia 76ers and a new 24-hour regional sports network, Comcast SportsNet (now NBC Sports Philadelphia).
In early 2000, Comcast Spectacor acquired Global Facility Services. The company was renamed Global Spectrum and soon emerged as a leader in the venue management industry. Also in 2000, Comcast Spectacor partnered with Leisure and Recreation Services, Inc. to form a new concession and fine dining services company, Ovations Food Services. In 2001, Comcast Spectacor added Front Row Marketing and New Era Ticketing to its growing portfolio of service providers. New Era later merged its ticketing operations with Paciolan.
In 2011, Comcast Spectacor sold the Philadelphia 76ers to a group of private equity financiers headed by Josh Harris and David Blitzer, partners in Apollo Management and Blackstone, respectively. The following year, Comcast Spectacor partners with Cordish Companies to open XFINITY Live!, a new dining and entertainment district located in the Wells Fargo Complex.
In 2015, Comcast Spectacor launched a major rebrand of its various venue management, food services, sponsorship, and ticketing companies to form one integrated business, Spectra by Comcast Spectacor.
On April 11, 2016, Ed Snider passed away at the age of 83 following a long battle with cancer. To read more about the life of Ed Snider, please click here.
OUR LEGACY LIVES ON
Later that year, Comcast Corporation acquired Ed Snider’s minority stake in Comcast Spectacor to assume full ownership of the company's three primary businesses, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Wells Fargo Center, and Spectra. After the Democratic National Convention in 2016, the Wells Fargo Center began its multi-year $265 million renovation project, Transformation 2020. The plan, which will transform nearly every corner of the arena, is planned to conclude in 2020.
In 2017, Comcast Spectacor sold Spectra’s Ticketing division (Paciolan and New Era) in an equity transaction that established Learfield as one of Comcast Spectacor's strategic partner companies.
In 2017, Comcast Spectacor purchased an ECHL hockey franchise, the Maine Mariners, who began play in the 2018-2019 season. Later that year, the company also purchased the rights to re-establish a professional indoor lacrosse franchise in Philadelphia from the National Lacrosse League. The Philadelphia Wings began play in December 2018 and all home games are played at the Wells Fargo Center.
2017 also marked Comcast Spectator's entry into esports, when the company purchased the rights to launch a Philadelphia franchise in the newly-created Overwatch League. The Philadelphia Fusion broadened Comcast Spectacor’s portfolio of sports and entertainment assets and matched its core strengths that surround running professional sports organizations and hosting exciting events.
In 2018, Atairos, a long-term strategic holding company, reached an agreement with Comcast Spectacor to acquire a majority interest in Spectra. Comcast Spectacor retained a significant minority ownership stake and Comcast Spectacor Chairman Dave Scott assumed day-to-day management and leadership as Spectra’s CEO.