If it can be said that Delaware has local ‘celebrities,’ that crowd was out in force for Wednesday night’s debut of the Delaware Blue Coats G League Basketball team at their new arena, the glimmering 76ers Fieldhouse on Wilmington’s south side.
There was a governor, a mayor, two US senators and business bigshots galore, enjoying a little courtside badinage and even a few Twin Lakes pale ales. And while the Blue Coats fell in a close one on the courts to the Memphis Hustle 110-106, the strong, buzzy crowd of nearly 2500 made for a positive kickoff for the spiffy new arena.
Of course there were free t-shirts for all attendees and a pregame commencement ceremony featuring politicians and Philadelphia 76ers front office executives. Not to mention appearances by the team’s new mascot Coaty, the Sixers Dunk Squad and some great dancers and drummers.
The parking and ingress traffic situation was a little wobbly. And the $5 general parking lot needs more blacktop. But most fans recognize it was opening night, and team management say they are on top of the situation and improvements in that department are already underway.
Construction began on the 161,000 square-foot 76ers Fieldhouse in August 2018. The Blue Coats’ NBA G League arena hosts 2,300 seats, and the multi-sport complex is positioned to host youth sports and community events throughout the year.
It features three basketball courts in total, with both an indoor and outdoor turf soccer field opening in the coming months. The facility will also hosts concerts, the first one — O.A.R. — is planned for February 16.
Several photos contributed by photographer Danny Gevirtz