It may be the most surprising turnaround in all of sports. Two years ago the Philadelphia 76ers won just 10 out of 82 games, and had the worst four-year stretch in league history. Today, the Sixers are on a 17-game winning streak and true championship contenders.
But it’s not just about the wins: It’s also meant a huge uptick in business. Fans and sponsors are excited and willing to spend a lot more money on the upstart Sixers.
“We, of course, are seeing an incredible uptick,” CEO Scott O’Neil told CNBC. “Our local ratings are up 70 percent, we have a 10k person waiting list, we have sold out for next year already. We are number one for merchandise.”
For the Wells Fargo Center, where the Sixers play every home game, the additional playoff games could mean millions in incremental revenue. That comes from things like parking and concessions.
And it’s not just the Sixers. All of Philadelphia sports seem to be on fire. The Eagles won their first ever Super Bowl in February, and just a few weeks ago local college Villanova won its second NCAA title in the last three years.
“It’s a great time to be a sports fan and the players feed off that energy,” said 76ers General Manager Bryan Colangelo.
“It’s amazing,” star shooting guard J.J. Redick told CNBC the morning of their Game 2 playoff matchup against the Miami Heat. “To see so much success from our home teams, we have felt that buzz. It creates an electric atmosphere for us.”