We'll have more on the history of The Spectrum in Philadelphia, which is now scheduled for demolition next year, later in the week. For now, there's an interesting discussion going on about the future home of the AHL Philadelphia Phantoms, the hugely popular farm team for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Developers in Lehigh Valley have talked about building an arena for the Phantoms, but that construction wouldn't occur in time for the 2009-10 season.
Jeffrey Vasser, executive director of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors' Authority, told the Press of Atlantic City that he's had preliminary discussions with Phantoms officials about the potential relocation -- temporary or permanent -- of the team to the Jersey Shore. (Oh, and what would those outraged over the possibility of an NHL team in Las Vegas say about that?)
There are other locations in South Jersey that have been discussed, but Jim Williams of the Baltimore Examiner lays out a more intriguing option: Charm City.
Baltimore has previously hosted minor league teams like the Clippers, Skipjacks and Bandits. Williams believes that the Phantoms would be a perfect fit for the 1st Mariner Arena:
If Baltimore is serious about brining quality sports to the area, then it is time to embrace reality and give Mr. Luuko a call at Comcast-Spectacor.
No one can accuse Baltimore of not being a major league city. The Orioles and the Ravens have proved that to be true. However, even if the city built a state-of-the-art 21,000-seat arena, it would not change the fact that the NHL or NBA is not coming here anytime soon - if ever.
It's hard to believe that the Phantoms will have anywhere near the attendance success they had in Philadelphia should they leave that area. Neither of the two out-of-town candidates seem capable of replicating that. Baltimore has seen AHL teams come and go over the years. Atlanta City's ECHL team, the Boardwalk Bullies, left town after failing to attract strong attendance.
Though it would be rather amusing to have the Washington Capitals' prospects playing in Hershey and the Flyers' kids playing just north of D.C., here's hoping the franchise figures out a way to stay near Philly. The fans are into it, the Flyers are right there, and the draw of Baltimore has seriously dropped now that "The Wire" is over and there's no chance we'll ever see Omar Little in a Phantoms jersey.