The 14 Longest Ovations in Wells Fargo Center History

Last night, Bernie Sanders took the stage at the Democratic National Convention and received a raucous, prolonged and loud standing ovation, and I wondered if it was the longest the building had ever seen. After tons of Twitter input from you, the reader, on the longest ovation in the 20-year history of the Wells Fargo Center, we have a definitive answer– yes it was, clocking it at 2:59.

Here are the top 14 ovations at the Wells Fargo Center. Keep in mind, there’s a recency bias here, and not all ovations pre-2006 or so are available on YouTube or elsewhere, so it’s possible we’re missing a few. There are also a number of 30-second or so Flyers and Sixers ovations over the years that have likely long been forgotten. But these are the best of the best.

A few notes about the findings, because there are more qualifications than I thought there would be for such a frivolous ranking:

  • I received many mentions of Claude Giroux’s 2012 playoff goal against the Penguins, Keith Primeau’s game-tying goal against the Lightning in 2004, Simon Gagne’s overtime goal in the same game, Mike Richards 2010 goal, multiple 2001 Sixers moments, Villanova vs. UCONN in 2006, Temple vs. Duke in 2012, and John LeClair’s game-tying goal in the World Cup of Hockey in 1996– one of the first events the building ever saw. For my money, LeClair’s tying goal may have been the loudest I’ve ever heard a building get. But, loudness is tough to measure what with different broadcast feeds and such, so maybe we’ll save that for a later post– Loudest Crowd Reactions. For now, we want to measure length of ovations. It is difficult, if not impossible, to measure ovation length for big sports moments since they’re punctuated by music, PA announcers, and replay reactions which all lead to various crescendos. So for our purposes, we’re limiting this to ovations aimed at individual people.
  • I’ve excluded WWE and concert ovations, because both promote and encourage prolonged ovations, almost as part of the show (entrance, encore, etc.). The longest WWE ovation seems to be The Rock’s return in 2001, which clocked in at 2:02, or the Stone Cold Steve Austin’s WrestleMania 15 win over The Rock in 1998, which doesn’t have a runtime because I’m pretty sure Stone Cold drank beers off the top rope for about 40 minutes after the event ended to the delight of the crowd, which stuck around. Or Bubba Ray Dudley’s surprise entrance at the Royal Rumble, which came in at 44 seconds.
  • Wing Bowl has a number of runner-ups, but Chip Kelly’s, Kobayashi’s, El Wingador’s and others’ ovation(s) are mixed in with general debauchery and the radio broadcast itself, so it’s tough to tell if any were deserving to make this list. I didn’t exclude Wing Bowl necessarily, but it just sort of washed out that way.
  • Conventions are a weird animal, with many speeches and much cheering. I’ve included just the top ovation from each of the two conventions held in Philly.

Let’s delve:


14) Kobe Bryant’s last game in Philly, 24 seconds

Kobe suffered a bit from Matt Cord’s prolonged intro (we begin timing just as the intro ends), but deservingly comes in last here as he shunned the city for almost the entirety of his career until it was expedient for him.


13) Eric Lindros Flyers Hall of Fame Induction, 34 seconds

Surprisingly low score here for Lindros, who may have gotten his official “welcome home” ovation two years earlier at the Winter Classic.


12) Allen Iverson’s MVP announcement during the 2001 NBA Finals, 36 seconds

First appearance by Iverson on this list.


11) Kimmo Timonen’s return with the Blackhawks, 38 seconds

This is a timed ovation since it took place during a TV timeout, but not bad for an opponent during the game.


10) Brian Boucher during the 2010 playoffs, 39 seconds

Not the longest, but one of the few that got its recipient to cry.


9) Allen Iverson number retirement, 45 seconds

This was 10 minutes into a long ceremony and a few minutes after Joshua Harris bored the planet to tears and presented Allen Iverson with a fucking bass boat. Had Harris not spoken, Iverson’s ovation would’ve likely lasted longer than a minute.


8) Allen Iverson returns in 2009, 48 seconds

I got a lot of mentions for this one and I’m surprised it wasn’t longer. I think what happened here was that, out of some misplaced sense of loyalty, the Sixers allowed Andre Iguodala, then the team’s star, to have his name called last, which undoubtedly zapped the buzz out of AI’s intro. The Answer robbed again!


7) Mark Howe jersey retirement ceremony, 49 seconds

I blame the unnecessarily slow walk. Howe shouldn’t be this high.


6) Ian Laperrière returns after taking a puck to the eye, 50 seconds

Well deserved.


5) Rod Brind’Amour Flyers Hall of Fame induction, 50 seconds


4) Iverson game ball presentation before Game 6 in 2012, 56 seconds

Incredibly, Iverson’s longest ovation may have come before Game 6 against the Celtics in 2012 when he presented the game ball with a delightfully awkward Adam Aron and a smiling Joshua Harris.


3) Michael Jordan’s last game in Philly, 2:20

Michael Jordan just blows them all away. I can’t believe how long this was. It more than doubled the longest sports ovation we could find and absolutely crushed Kobe Bryant’s farewell game. Philly gets such a bad rap, but it knows true greatness when it sees it…


2) George Bush at the 2000 Republican National Convention, 2:23

… well, maybe not.


1) Bernie Sanders at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, 2:59

Congratulations to Bernie Sanders, who joins the likes of Allen Iverson, Ian Laperriere, George W. Bush and Michael Jordan on this list of strange bedfellows who had praise heaped upon them in South Philly at the home of the Flyers, Sixers, and Wing Bowl.


16 Responses

  1. This is a really tough list for you to come up with. The ovation for the Flyers win after game 6 in 2004 was probably longer if you count how it continued out on the concourse. It was deafening out there… but that stuff doesn’t really count. I’m sure there were many other sporting events that had the same thing.

  2. How could you leave this out? Flyers Stanley Cup 1987 Game 6 , I guess maybe for loudest list.

  3. June 2016 Total Cumm

    94.1 WIP= 3.9
    97.5 WPEN= 2.3

    The 2 Boston Sports Talk Stations

    WEEI= 5.7
    WBZ= 4.3

    Philadlephia sports radio badly underperforms once again in comparison to its closest peer (Boston)

    All info available at Radio Online

  4. Loudest ovation I ever heard was when I knocked out a penguins fan at wells fargo during the 2009 playoffs. Beat the fuck out of him and was all fucked up from boozing

  5. Loudest ovation I ever heard was when I came on a girl I was dating from Pittsburgh during the 2012 playoffs. She lost a bet 🙂

  6. Sanders deserved more then a 3 minute ovation. Think about what he has been through. He campaigned against campaign corruption and big money in the election process. Then the candidate who has the most big money behind her and rigged the election against him (documented!) bent him over and makes him endorse her.

    He’s like the GOD of all cuckolds in an arena full of them.

  7. Cuckold just like when Howie sits in Luries bed room chair, the chair where Banner used to sit.
    hey Kyle a Rothchild family member commented on my FB page last night. uh oh

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