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Chase buys naming rights to 76ers Fieldhouse

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JPMorgan Chase has acquired the naming rights to the 76ers Fieldhouse in a long-term deal, according to owner Buccini-Pollin Group. | PHOTO COURTESY OF BPG

WILMINGTON – The 76ers Fieldhouse will now be known as the Chase Fieldhouse after banking giant JPMorgan Chase bought the naming rights to the facility that is home to the G-League Delaware Blue Coats basketball team.

BPG|Sports, the owner and management organization of the facility located off South Market Street in South Wilmington, and the Philadelphia 76ers announced the multi-faceted joint partnership on Feb. 18. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 161,000-square-foot multisport arena opened in January 2019, and also houses tenants Nemours Sports Medicine and Titus Sports Academy. The Blue Coats host 24 regular season home games in the 2,300-seat capacity arena during a traditional NBA G League season – this year the development league is playing in a “bubble” in Orlando without fans in attendance due to the pandemic.

A new Chase Fieldhouse emblem can be seen from both the north and south sides of the building, while the Philadelphia 76ers logo will remain on the west façade facing the Wilmington Riverfront. For the banking giant, which is also the largest for-profit employer in the state, the deal represents its further commitment to Delaware. It is already the name sponsor for the Riverfront convention center that gained a high-profile last year for hosting the Democratic National Convention and election win speeches by now-President Joe Biden.

“The sponsorship of the Chase Fieldhouse strengthens our already-deep commitment to the Delaware market and to the City of Wilmington,” Tom Horne, Delaware market leader for JPMorgan Chase, said in a statement to Delaware Business Times. “We’re proud to be associated with this significant venue which brings diverse communities together across the tri-state area. Serving our customers and community, and providing opportunities for both is especially important for us as our retail footprint grows across the region.”

Rob Buccini, president of Buccini-Pollin Group, the parent entity of BPG|Sports, told DBT that the sponsorship deal was a “long-term” agreement, ensuring that Chase would remain for years into the future. Buccini said that BPG and the Sixers organization had approached multiple companies about the deal before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, but that Chase “stepped up the quickest and showed immediate commitment.”

“Chase has been at such a strong presence in Delaware, and Wilmington in particular, for so many years, being a leader and giving back to the community,” added Larry Meli, president of the Delaware Blue Coats. “The more that we learned about Chase, the more we recognized that we share a lot of the same values.”

Buccini and Meli said that their organizations have a long history of working with Chase through the Fieldhouse and other initiatives, and the bank’s reputation for community support preceded it.

As part of the sponsorship deal, Chase will also continue to contribute to youth athlete scholarships to participate in league play at the Fieldhouse, which has totaled about $100,000 over the first years split between Chase, BPG and the Sixers. It will also purchase 100 tickets to every Blue Coats home game to donate to those in the community and sponsor a co-branded youth health and wellness initiative to serve underserved communities in the city.

The new name for the Fieldhouse will also help raise the profile of Wilmington, which has been growing in recent years with new developments, often backed by BPG’s more than $1 billion investment in its home city.

“Like other large cities, the main athletic venue is sponsored. So, this just shows how we’ve grown as a city that the largest bank in the country has agreed to put their name on the building,” Buccini said.

Coincidentally, both of the Sixers-affiliated teams will now play in facilities known by large bank monikers, as the NBA’s 76ers play in the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

The Fieldhouse’s indoor field is already sponsored by AAA while its outdoor fields are sponsored by Nemours. ChristianaCare has also signed a sponsorship deal for co-branded programming and initiatives, including Blue Coats broadcasts.

One of the major remaining sponsorship opportunities for the arena is a uniform sponsor for the Blue Coats. About a third of G League teams have obtained a sponsor for a space on the front of the basketball jerseys, and Meli said that the Blue Coats are still examining their options for that opportunity. The Sixers signed a uniform sponsorship deal with online ticket marketplace StubHub in 2017.

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