The 87ers' new arena could have a big impact on Wilmington youth - Technical.ly Delaware

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Nov. 29, 2017 12:10 pm

The 87ers’ new arena could have a big impact on Wilmington youth

The state-of-the-art sports complex is expected to open for the Sevens' 2018–19 season.

Here's what the new sports complex on the Riverfront will look like.

(Courtesy image)

There’s a new sports complex coming to the Wilmington Riverfront, and its aim is to increase opportunities for the city’s underserved youth.

The construction of the 76ers Fieldhouse, as it will be called, was announced Wednesday by Gov. John Carney, Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, Philadelphia 76ers President of Business Operations Chris Heck and Buccini Pollin cofounder Rob Buccini.

“The new facility will be built on an 8.9 acre parcel of land off U.S. Route 13 and Garasches Lane,” according to a statement from officials. “The sports complex is designed to be the premier center for youth sports in Delaware while providing thousands of underserved youth with new sports programming and opportunities.”

The facility will also serve as home court for the Sixers’ G League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers. The Sevens currently play in Newark.

No word on how much state money was involved in landing the project, but the Sixers were able to milk millions of tax dollars from New Jersey for a Camden practice facility.

The 87ers (named after the year Delaware was the first to ratify the U.S. Constitution, natch) are generally less well-known than Delaware’s other big professional team, Minor League Baseball’s Wilmington Blue Rocks (whose Frawley Stadium sits between the Christina River an I-95). Moving from the campus of the University of Delaware to the Riverfront will likely change that, giving the city an economic boost.

It’s a smart move, considering how poorly retail has done in the area while Frawley Stadium draws crowds all spring and summer.

Where the Fieldhouse will potentially have the biggest impact is in providing programming to undeserved youth in Delaware. Details are yet to come, but with Wilmington’s most at-risk teens aged 13–17, it will hopefully be much more than a pretty new complex.

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