June 21, 2019
Stephen A. Smith will host a live broadcast of ESPN's "First Take" at the 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington, Delaware, on Sept. 20, when Smith will accept a role as the city's official "HBCU Ambassador."
The recently-completed Fieldhouse, where the Sixers' G-League affiliate Delaware Blue Coats play their home games, holds about 2,500 people in attendance for games, but will be expanded to nearly 4,000 for the broadcast, according to the Delaware Business Times.
Smith was awarded the city's HBCU Week "Social Impact" Award by Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki earlier this week, according to the Business Times. It's unclear what all Smith's role as ambassador will entail.
According to the Business Times, the first two years of HBCU Week events have helped more than 1,000 students gain admittance to HBCUs across the country.
Delaware State University, located 46 miles away from the Fieldhouse in Dover, is the state's only HBCU.
“Wilmington’s HBCU Program, which has created additional opportunities for local high school students to continue their education at an HBCU, is expanding and gaining in popularity,” Purzycki told the Business Times. “In September, we’ll launch a third year of introducing students to an authentic HBCU experience. This time, we’ll do it with our new Wilmington HBCU Ambassador Stephen A. Smith who will help us take our program to new heights."
Smith, a New York native, attended Winston Salem State University, an HBCU in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and graduated in 1991.
Smith, who previously worked in Philadelphia as a writer for the Inquirer from 1993 until 2010, has hosted "First Take" since 2012. Earlier this year, rumors emerged suggesting ESPN could make Smith the network's highest-paid personality, with a contract landing somewhere near $10 million per year.
Tickets to the live broadcast are not yet for sale on the Fieldhouse website.