Big 5 Classic | December 2

Big 5 Classic to determine Big 5 champion and will be played as part of same-day triple header at the New Wells Fargo Center on December 2

Today, the Big 5 officially welcomed Drexel University and revealed details of a new series format where the Big 5 champion will be determined during a same-day, Big 5 triple-header at the New Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, December 2, 2023. The announcement was made on the court at Wells Fargo Center which has been home to numerous NCAA Tournament games, and has featured all of the Big 5 teams in action during its more than 25-year history. 


For the new series, the six schools will be separated into three-team pods: Pod 1: Temple, La Salle, and Drexel; Pod 2: Villanova, St. Joseph’s, and Penn. Each team will play the other two teams from their pod at their individual on-campus arenas. All teams will participate in the Big 5 Classic triple-header at the New Wells Fargo Center on December 2 with the first seed in each pod competing for the Big 5 championship, the second place teams in each pod competing for second place, and the third seeds competing for third place in the Big 5.


“Drexel University is honored to become part of the Philadelphia Big 5,” said Drexel Director of Athletics Maisha Kelly. “The Philadelphia Big 5 is synonymous with basketball history in the city and it is exciting to have our brand now be associated with such a storied organization. As an institution of higher learning, prominently positioned in the city, we are proud to be aligned with these five schools that combine excellence in both academics and athletics. This is a historic day in Drexel basketball history. We look forward to making the Big Five Classic at the Wells Fargo Center a marquee event for our program, our University, and the Philadelphia sports community.”


“Big 5 basketball and its traditions are a big part of the fabric of Philadelphia basketball,” said Fran Dunphy, head coach of La Salle University Men’s Basketball team. “We look back on the Big 5’s history with great fondness, as we welcome a new member to our group in Drexel University and usher in a new era of Big 5 play. We are all excited to participate in this newly imagined format and the first Big 5 Classic at the new Wells Fargo Center next season.” 


“The New Wells Fargo Center is the region’s premier destination for live sports and entertainment – including basketball – and it’s the perfect venue for the Big 5 Classic,” said Valerie Camillo, President & CEO of Spectacor Sports and Entertainment. “The New Wells Fargo Center is a brand new, world-class arena with first-class amenities, cutting-edge technology, and unmatched parking and transit access, but we also have a rich history of hosting unforgettable college and professional basketball games.  We’re looking forward to creating new memories that will be shared across generations when we bring together these six great university communities together later this year.”


The Big 5 Classic is the latest event hosted by Spectacor Events and Entertainment (SEE), which finds or builds exciting events for the city of Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center and beyond.  SEE spent the past 6 months working to bring the Big 5 Classic to the Wells Fargo Center and will promote the event of behalf of the schools. This revitalized basketball tournament will build on SEE’s impressive early track record of promoting successful events across the region. SEE launched in 2020 by building and promoting the Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular, a holiday light show, dining experience, and market, which draws more than 125,000 visitors annually. SEE has also promoted the Philly Arts and Music Festival and has several more exciting events planned for the future.


The Wells Fargo Center has been the site of numerous NCAA Tournament games, including the NCAA Men’s East Regionals (twice), the NCAA Men’s First and Second Round Games (three times), and the 2000 NCAA Women’s Final Four. The New Wells Fargo Center is set to host the NCAA Men’s First & Second Round Games in 2026. The arena holds the record for the highest attendance for a college basketball game in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which took place on February 13, 2006 when Villanova University played and defeated the #1 ranked University of Connecticut before a crowd of 20,859. 


Wells Fargo Center is currently in the final stage of its multi-year $350+ million Transformation, which is one of the most significant arena projects anywhere in the world. Everything in the arena has been completely re-imagined, and the project will be finalized this summer with brand new player and performer facilities and locker rooms along with a new exterior of the arena.