Philadelphia’s professional sports teams continue to test their fans’ faith, but 76ers CEO Scott O’Neil says life is pretty good in the City of Brotherly Love, including while the Democratic National Convention is in town.
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“I think [the DNC] shines an international spotlight on a city that’s in its own little renaissance,” O’Neil told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo. “I think it’s a good time to be here.”
The 2016 Democratic National Convention is expected to generate $180 million in direct spending for the city. This year marks the fourth time Philly has hosted the DNC. O'Neil said the hospitality industry has already felt the economic impact, with nearly 110,000 hotel rooms occupied by convention-goers.
“With all the tumultuous stuff going on in the world, business is good in Philadelphia,” O’Neil said. “It’s a city that seems to be on the rise. We’ve got Millennials flying in. We’ve got a great new mayor in Jim Kenney, so things are good.”
O’Neil said the future also looks bright for the 76ers –the city’s professional basketball team—which went 10-72 last season. He said he’s placing his hopes in 19-year-old Ben Simmons, and other rising stars, to help turn the team around.
“We have a chance to be very special,” he said. “We’re very young. We have a terrific coach in Brett Brown. Bryan Colangelo, our president, is doing an amazing job in remaking this team.”
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He said the 76ers are taking a disciplined approach to winning.
“We’re not going to be impatient and we’re going to build this for the long haul,” O’Neil said. “This is not known for being a patient market, but we have the best fans in the world.”
In addition to rebuilding the struggling team, the 76ers recently partnered with StubHub and will be the first in the league to introduce advertisements on their jerseys beginning in the 2017-18 season.
“StubHub is just an incredible partner,” he said. “They are endemic to our space. We created a new and dynamic ticket exchange with them and it seemed like a natural partner for us. It’s a terrific revenue stream. At the end of the day we are capitalists.”
The 76ers also launched a limited edition “Banner Series” wine collection with Chaddsford Winery in Chester County, Pa., featuring three different wines dedicated to their three NBA championship teams. O’Neil said they hope to add a fourth this year.