The Philadelphia 76ers and Wells Fargo have been in a feud for quite some time now, and that feud culminated with the team pulling the petty move of fulfilling an NBA rule that requires the arena’s name to be on the court by putting the arena name in small, white font on the court.
Also, we described this move as “passive-aggressive.” The Sixers themselves disagreed with that statement. In fact, they wanted to be just flat-out aggressive.
But the kicker was [Sixers CEO Scott] O’Neil’s first idea — to put the bank’s name in invisible ink on the home court.
“Our original idea was, for the court logo, to put it in invisible ink — but the lawyers wouldn’t go for it. I figured we could do a little black light in the intros to show it,” said O’Neil. “But the lawyers didn’t go for it, they’re not sure that would live to the letter of the law.”
Citing my recent BizPhilly article that characterized the Sixers actions as “passive-aggressive,” O’Neil offered a correction: “This is aggressive. We’re not very passive-aggressive. We don’t understand that language.”
Invisible ink?! Yikes. Either way, the small white font made it clear that the Sixers and Wells Fargo were not cool with each other. However, recent events may seem to indicate that the relationship may have warmed up a tiny bit. If you’ve been watching Sixers games lately (even though I can’t imagine why you would when you consider the current state of the team), then you’ve noticed that they’ve changed the arena name’s font to one that is much larger and darker — a.k.a actually legible!
So, what happened? Did the Sixers and Wells Fargo make up? That can’t be the case, because the team still refers to Wells Fargo Center as simply “The Center”, and as long as that’s going on, that is an indication that the two parties are still pretty cold towards each other. Apparently a third party had to come in and “convince” the Sixers to enlarge Wells Fargo’s name on the court: Comcast.
Michael Preston of the Sixers reached out to offer this, from chief revenue officer Chris Heck:
“We truly value the relationships we have with all our partners including Comcast-Spectacor, who indicated it was important to them that their naming rights partner be more clearly identified. The Sixers are looking forward to announcing our new partner in the banking category in a matter of days.”
So there you have it: Comcast is the parent who had to tell the two kids to stop being petulant and make up. While the “make up” part probably won’t happen soon, at least the two parties are playing nice now. So, no more white ink on a bright background — or even invisible ink.