The Philadelphia Wings are Moving

Their final photo

The Philadelphia Wings, whose tenure from 1986 until now was the longest for a team in one city in the National Lacrosse League, are no more. In a press release sent out at prime news hours (2pm on a Friday in July, when no one is focused on the weekend at all), the Wings announced that the “Ownership of the Philadelphia Wings … plan to re-locate the franchise for the 2015 season.” The release continues to say that they are “in discussions with a new strategic partner for re-location,” which has not been announced yet. Tickets purchased for the 2015 season will be refunded.

Owner and Team President Michael French said “the financial model in a market with so many sport and entertainment alternatives has proven to be unsustainable. Finding a new venue with new strategic partners was the only way to ensure financial stability.” The Wings, until this announcement, played their home games in the Wells Fargo Center, and before that in the Spectrum. The cost to rent the Wells Fargo, along with the near impossible task of filling it, certainly wouldn’t have helped the Wings, and the Wings will now join the other former Spectrum tenants that have either moved or ceased to exist (the Kixx, the Bulldogs, the Fever, and the Philadelphia Phantoms).

Regardless of their non-major status, the Wings won six championships in their 28-year existence (four in the MILL and two in the newer NLL), and that’s worth celebrating. Just a little bit though, let’s not get carried away. According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the 2014 Wings season featured a 10% drop in attendance and the team ranked eighth (out of nine teams) with an average of 6,864 fans a game. That works out to less than 39% of the seats being filled if you’re using the arena’s smallest seating configuration.

If you’re looking for some niche sport action, however, you’ve still got the Spinners and … uh … the Freedoms?


18 Responses

  1. Any local places that could accomodate them? Maybe the class of ’23 rink at Penn or the Liacouras Center at Temple?

  2. What killed the Wings was the Spectrum being torn down. They were the perfect team for that sized arena, and the increase in spending and overhead for the Wings to play in Wells Fargo (as well as move their offices there) was an expenditure they were never able to overcome (it’s what killed the Kixx too). The problem is that Philly doesn’t have a secondary arena for secondary teams like other cities have (IZOD Center or Nassau Coliseum – or even Barclay’s Center for New York, Honda Center in LA, Allstate Arena in Chicago, etc.) and we do not. A secondary arena, maybe in So Jersey, would have been the solution for the Wings. It’s possible that if the new arena in Allentown was built a year sooner, the Wings might have survived moving there.

    1. There’s the Sun National Bank Center (formerly known as Sovereign Bank Arena) in Trenton which seems like it’s what you’re describing. Not exactly South Jersey, but not too far from Philly. I just don’t know if that would work out either. The Trenton Titans/Devils/Titans were good for awhile there but ultimately folded.

  3. What also killed the Wings was the ownership and coaching staff that could not field a decent team in over 10 years. They made poor player choices and poor coaching. They treated their season ticket holders think crap and did not care. The fan base dwindled due to lack of respect and a poor team. As the Phillies are seeing now, winning fills the seats losing empties them.

  4. The ones who care where the fans… there was once a day they filled the spectrum right with the flyers

  5. And this story is relevant in 2014 for what meaningless reason?

  6. Few years ago I bought Phantoms tix package that included free wings seats. Long story short Wings management lost my order, mailed the replacement tickets to the wrong address, Tried to email the tickets, no go, long story short I’ve never been to a Wings game and I am quite Surprised that they could manage to average 6800 per game with all that non sense.

  7. After the USFL but before the Phantoms, Riversharks, Soul and Union, the Wings thrived as the only 5th sport in town (soccer never counted). Now there’s like 20 alternatives. Probly won’t be the last to fold up tent.

  8. It was fun while it lasted but I was giving up my season tickets this year anyway because it is ridiculous to pay $16 for parking for 2 hours. Plus it seemed that every home game had a completely new team. Gone are the days of Jake, Dallas and Marachek … the staples of the team that played every game.

  9. philly wings r the best i get the extra hot sauce sad there closin down das the best barkans

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