Everything You Want To Know About “Philly Live!”… Which Will Actually Be Called “XFINITY Live! Philadelphia”

Xfinity_live

This morning, Comcast Spectacor announced details of XFINITY Live! Philadelphia, the entertainment complex being built near where the Spectrum used to stand. 

Yesterday, this friendly neighborhood blogger was treated to an exclusive advanced preview of what we can expect to see on April 5, when XFINITY Live! Philadelphia officially opens to the public.

The offices at the northwest end of the Wells Fargo Center have a decidedly more chic feel than the rest of the drab interior space which lines the arena. Instead of plain white walls and seven-foot high wooden doors, the now-Xfinity Live! offices, which look out onto the complex’s construction site, feature a Zen-like combination of glass partitions, open areas and modern furniture. After all, these folks are working on building a first-of-its-kind entertainment complex, not selling hockey tickets, like their partners just on the other side of the wall. Their goal is to turn XFINITY Live! Philadelphia from an idea into a place where you’ll want to eat, drink and shop.

In 2008, Comcast-Spectacor and Cordish Company unveiled plans to build a roughly 300,000-square-foot entertainment complex, complete with bars, stores, hotels and more. The unstable economy over the last few years has shrunk that dream to the modest-looking 50,000 square foot complex you see being built diagonal to Citizens Bank Park. But you’re still probably wondering, what the hell is going to be in it? And a myriad other questions.

Let’s answer them.

 

What is it? 

Officially, XFINITY Live! Philadelphia (don’t forget the !– I'm going lowercase from here on out) is a “dining and entertainment district way beyond game day.” In layman’s terms, that means Xfinity Live! is not a big McFadden’s. It’s not going to be a pre and post-game destination that sits dormant the rest of the week. It’s going to be a seven-day a week food court on steroids, with beer. Lots of beer… and music, movies, shops, outdoor seating and even a football field.

The six main facets of Xfinity Live! will be a Philly-style sports bar (Broad Street Bullies Pub), a high-end steak joint (Spectrum Grille), a Tex-Mex style restaurant complete with mechanical bull (PBR), a gigantic sports bar (NBC Sports Arena), a marketplace featuring local businesses and eateries (Philly Marketplace), and – my favorite – a German beer garden (The Victory Beer Hall). Yes, that last one is named for the local microbrewery.

More on all of those in a second.

 

Why the name, XFINITY Live! Philadelphia? 

Everyone likes money, Hoss. 

But seriously, did you expect anything less? This is a joint venture between Cordish and a Comcast company– of course they were going to slap their name on it. It doesn’t change things. In fact, the partnership with NBC-Comcast allows for some cool (pricey) upgrades. We’re just going to have to deal with it.

 

Is it going to be a gimmicky corporate thing? Because I don’t need another gimmicky corporate thing.

The official selling point is “Comcast is a local company” (the city’s largest employer)… but I doubt anyone feels all warm and fuzzy when hearing their name. In fact, the corporate name may lead some to believe that this is going to be a gimmicky money-grab, complete with clichéd themes and generic eateries (think Aramark’s lame themed concessions at Citizens Bank Park– Brewerytown, Old City Creamery, Fairmount Fries, etc.). That’s not going to be the case, and the folks at Xfinity Live! are working very hard to avoid that reality. 

The Philly Marketplace area will feature a Chickie’s and Pete’s, Nick’s Roast Beef and other yet-to-be announced local eateries and retailers (you can probably make a few guesses). The other individual attractions will utilize big-name (mostly local) chefs, and feature their own individual management teams.

The goal is that each area of Xfinity Live! functions the way any other Philadelphia business or restaurant would… only they’re located in the heart of the sports complex.

 

Yes, but about the sports complex… is anyone going to go when there’s not a game going on? 

That’s the goal, Virginia. 

Xfinity Live! will be open every day from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. Not all areas will be open during those hours, but one restaurant or bar is guaranteed to be open at all times (specifics haven’t been decided yet). 

 

OK, this is all great. So tell me about what’s in there?

Christ, I thought you’d never ask. Here’s a breakdown:

 

Philly Marketplace

This will be an open area in the center of Xfinity Live! featuring a Chickie’s and Pete’s, Nick’s Roast Beef and other establishments (cappuccino, ice cream, etc.). Since crowds will waver between game days and non-game days, the marketplace, along with other areas of Xfinity Live!, will be able to transform to fit the occasion. This area will be able to host private events, which can be held on the mezzanine level (yes, there are two levels), and has a DJ booth.

 

Is there a really fucking big TV? 

Yes, there is a really fucking big TV. 

One of the benefits of the Comcast-NBC partnership, I’m told, is that Xfinity Live! will be home to a 32-foot, diagonal, LED high-definition screen from Sony. It will be one of the largest indoor applications of an HD screen in the world. 

The screen will be positioned inside the NBC Sports Arena and visible to the marketplace area.

 

NBC Sports Arena

You didn’t think you were going to get away from the Comcast-NBC partnership that easily, did you?

This is exactly what you might think it is– a giant sports bar that will be home to the 32-foot HD screen. It will be complete with other HDTVs, a stocked bar and a first-of-its-kind LED sports ticker, powered by CSN. This will presumably be the place to watch the game. It’s not official, but the goal is to pump in some arena sound and effects to produce an experience that rivals the one you could get in the stadiums on either side of Xfinity Live!

One element that we’d like to not carry over is the room-hue-changing advertisements which plague the scoreboard ticker at the Wells Fargo Center. The last thing we need is the lighting in the bar to be constantly changing from yellow to black to red depending on whichever scrolling advertisement is rolling through the room.

And hey, who knows, perhaps when there are no games, the NBC Sports Arena can show great original NBC programing… like Rock Center (Mondays at 10!).

 

PBR 

Pabst Blue Ribbon?

No.

Mechanical. Bull.

That’s pretty much all you need to know. It will be the centerpiece of the Tex-Mex style restaurant, which aims to be family friendly by day and, um, “dancing on the bars” at night. And an outdoor patio. Nice.

 

Broad Street Bullies Pub

A local neighborhood bar and grill. Walls will be lined with memorabilia and 800 pucks, which will be signed by athletes and celebs who enter the bar. There will be “tons” of beers on tap that will be changed out monthly.

I asked about the “Bud brands only” type thing that we see in other areas of the sports complex, but I was assured that wouldn’t be the case, and that there would be local and craft brews available.

The menu offerings, in my estimation, project to be somewhere between bar food and Friday’s, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The Broad Street Bullies Pub will also feature the NBC Sports Experience– video games and other family friendly options.

 

Spectrum Grille

This will be Xfinity Live!’s fancy restaurant. A 120-seat high-end steakhouse that aims to compete with the finest in the city. Renowned chefs will be brought in to run the kitchen. Reservations will be taken through Open Table. Walls will be lined with authentic memorabilia, as well.

 

The Victory Beer Hall

An excellent addition.

The beer hall will feature long tables, a stage, 2,000-square-foot outdoor area, deck fire pit, mezzanine level for events and, of course, german beers, sausages and pretzels.

 

Wow. And this will all be open by when?

April 5. And that’s not the goal– it’s the reality. This morning, they announced it as the open date. So one way or another, Xfinity Live! will be open on April 5, a week before the Phillies’ home opener and a few weeks before Flyers playoffs.

 

What about the prices, Kyle? If this place has arena-like markups, I’m taking the Taxi Crab and going to Chickie’s. 

Easy, fella. We’re getting there.

I asked, because, let’s face it, no one wants to spend $7 on Bud Lights when they’re not even at the game. Beer prices will be inline with Center City bars (pricey, but not stadium pricey). Food options will vary. The Spectrum Grille is going to be pricey and you’re probably going to pay markups in other areas, but less than you will in-stadium.

What it’s not going to be is an extension of the Cure Insurance Club, which is nothing more than a giant, in-arena concession stand. 

 

But how crowded will it be? McFadden’s is a standalone option, too, yet I still get penetrated by meatheads if I take two steps to my right. 

You read my mind– I don’t like getting penetrated by meatheads, either. To me, McFadden’s isn’t a pleasurable experience on game days… neither is a crowded Ashburn Alley. Both have decent offerings, and great location, but the appeal is lost by having to deal with the ridiculous crowds. What should be an enjoyable experience turns into a fight just to get a beer and a pork sandwich.

That’s my concern with Xfinity Live! 

Ultimately, Chickie’s and Pete’s is successful as a pre and post-game option because, while crowded, it manages the masses beautifully. You may wait for a seat, but the bar area is wide-open and service is insanely fast, though not rushed. 

Xfinity Live! is going to be big and have many open areas, but if the crowds aren’t managed properly or there are bottlenecks in bad spots, the whole experience could suffer. From the images I’ve seen, the design looks open enough, though.

 

Perhaps there will be outdoor areas, too?

Get of my my fucking mind! Seriously… get. out. I was just going there.

Yes, there will be much outdoor space. In various areas surrounding the building, there will be HDTV screens capable of showing sporting events and movies. An area for live local, regional and national acts. And – get this – a 300 x 100 artificial turf field for intramural games (and other yet-to-be-defined uses).

 

Will Juan Castillo be coaching a game there?

Probably.

 

Perhaps he can find a way to have players cover a field that size. 

I wouldn’t hold my br… Wait! Back to the complex.

 

What about parking?

Ah yes, parking. The shrunken size of Xfinity Live! allows for parking in the area where the Spectrum used to be, so that helps. But the whole Wells Fargo Center lot is considered parking for the complex.

 

How much does it cost?

You obviously have to pay on game days. But, it’s FREE on non-game days, and FREE one hour after the last event of the day starts (if the Phillies play at 1 and Flyers play at 7, FREE parking starts at 8). That’s reasonable.

There will be a valet lot, as well. But no word on pricing there.

 

What about other modes of transportation?

As you might imagine, there are other ways one could arrive, like, say, by SEPTA, or shuttle bus. No specific details were given yet, but they are exploring other options.

 

Any specifics on beers, menu items, specials, etc.?

Not yet. No details beyond what you see above were given.

 

Will anything be added before the opening date?

Yes. Several vendors are in the process of finalizing deals, so you expect a number of other local establishments to fill the complex, specifically in the Philly Marketplace.

 

Expansion plans?

Officially, no. But when Ed Snider gave an interview to CSN in the spring, he admitted that this was merely phase one:

The multistory bar, which will absorb 50,000 square feet of the 300,000-square-foot site, will be ready to serve customers by the Phillies opener in 2012, he said. As for the rest, of which the centerpiece is to be a luxury hotel, well . . .

"We're still waiting for the economy," the CEO and president of the Flyers and Sixers said.

 

So, it might turn into the grand vision we were told about in 2008, but a lot depends on the complex’s early success.

 

Can I work there? 

You bet! Xfinity Live! will be hiring 750 employees to staff the various areas of the complex. You can get further details on the website, Xfinitylive.com.

 

There you have it. Xfinity Live! aims to not only to enhance the game day experience, but also function as a standalone dining and entertainment option. There is still much work to be done, and many details to be ironed out, but the early results (and plans) look good.

We’ll keep you updated on all additions as the grand opening nears.

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63 Comments

  1. C&P? Really, another one? How gay, that place sucks, $7 for old bay fries and overpriced shitty sea food. The owner of that place is a fucking toolbag.

  2. chaps my ass that Chickie’s and Pete’s got in there

  3. Who cares?

  4. Gag me. More traffic in the WFC complex and DUIs in PA and NJ

  5. Chickies n Pete’s sucks, fuckin low grade dog food and stale beer

  6. Given my hatred for all things Comcast, I hope it fails, and fails spectacularly.

  7. Del Frisco’s Double Eagle, beware the steakhouse in the stadium parking lots! No.

  8. Wonder if they’ll charge $7 a beer, $10 a drink, and $22 for a burger like they do at the Cadillac Grille.
    My guess is at best it’ll be like the Market Place at the Tropicana in AC. Decent, but not great, and local places outside the casino are way better.

  9. The term “Microbrewery” is pretty antiquated. Most non BMC breweries use “craft brewery”. Victory has gotten pretty huge over the last few years. While they’re not totally national, I don’t think “micro” describes them very well.

  10. I can’t wait to leave and upper-decker in the C&P bathroom….what a ripoff that place is

  11. I don’t see where the money comes from. Anyone with half a brain sees this as Snider’s (and Comcast Spectacor’s) way to get a hand on the Foxwoods casino license. The problem, in the eyes of the state, is that Harrah’s is too close. Besides, who says that the state is still committed to casinos now that Rendell is gone? Also, without a major developer (a legitimate real estate company like Rouse), this has no chance to succeed.
    Also, Comcast is not the top employer in Philly, no? University of Pennsylvania.

  12. high prices keeps the rift raft out( you know who i mean) im all for it

  13. Can’t wait to discover the first bathroom glory hole!

  14. All I know is if I can slam three golden monkies and walk 100 yards to see the Birds/Phillies/Flyers I’m that much closer to heaven. Thank you Ed Snyder!

  15. Yeah keep out the rift raft, until you get carjacked in the lot like in AC

  16. I thought the sports bar was going to be a Game On. Is the NBC Sports Arena the new name instead, because if it is, it better be the same as Game On was in A.C. You know, before it closed down.

  17. Chickie & Petes never run any specials & their food is so overrated. The owner has a nice tan though

  18. You had me at Nick’s Roast Beef

  19. Dental Plan, Lisa Needs Braces

    December 15, 2011 at 11:18 am

    “I hope it fails, and fails spectacularly.”
    To what end?
    To prove that no developer should consider Philadelphia for any type of commercial development, unless it’s a casino? As a fuck-you to Ed Snider, who will still sleep on a mattress made of $100s until he dies, regardless of its success? Because this will surely be the linchpin in the Comcast empire, and once it tanks, Comcast will declare Chapter 11 and television will become a utopian, diversified enterprise again?
    No, really, why should we wish for it to fail?

  20. I always love pissing all over the chickie & petes bathroom. The bartenders at the South Philly location are so rude.

  21. I’ve always said, if there’s anything that the stadium area needs on game days it’s another 10 or 20 thousand people. This will be a real treat on days when there’s 2 things going on.

  22. Hahahahah way to go Comcast. You managed to rip-off Disney’s Pleasure Island 20 years too late (and after Disney shut it down to whatever the fuck it is now). That said, I found it interesting that Laddie deddicated a full FAQ-like entry to it. Most be another low key sports day, eh?

    The Real IBMcG—Often imposterered, never outclassed.

  23. this freaking SUCKS! all this is going to do is make it more difficult for people to get in and out! why not just build over FDR park while we are at it and build a Six Flags! you know to enhance the game day experience! nothing says PLAYOFFS like a roller coaster! and as far as the “local merchants” i would really really REALLY!!!!! like to see a superb local brew, like Yards or Philly Brew Company or Triumph, open up a brewpub, I am sure there is a local brewery wanting to do this. I mean I like the Victory Hall, but something more a sit down and watch the game-ish…. idk more dreading it then liking it

  24. damn you are all some buzzkills. i’m all for some sweet new places to take my drunk ass. this is gonna be dope

  25. Whys everyone worried about chickies and petes? who cares. you dont have to go there simple as that. theres gonna be plenty of other options there to get food and beer and sports. relax people this things gonna be sick. theres gonna be a Nicks fucking Roast Beef. All they need now is McNallys in Chestnut Hill to expand down there so we can get the worlds greatest sandwich at Xfinity Live. Seriously nothing beats a real schmitter. seriously lets petition McNallys to xpand to xfinity live.

  26. It’s essentially Philly’s version of Orlando CityWalk. I don’t really think it’s a bad idea, but I’m so tired of the corporate sponsors slapping their name over EVERYTHING nowadays.

  27. They need to add a rub-n-tug

  28. As a Kenzo I’m looking forward to pissing in the lobby of the high class steak place.

  29. They should add the penny garden’s power hour before games…yikes

  30. The great northeast

    December 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    You dirty Kenzos will not be allowed within 10 miles of this place, fuckin dirtballs

  31. What is Xfinity? Is it Comcast trying to distance itself from its own bad reputation?

  32. Comcast changed their brand to Xfinity over a year ago for exactly that reason. Coming in #1 on Consumer Reports horrible customer service listings a few years in a row will do that. They’re still a bunch of ballpunching assclown, no surprise.

  33. Out of Whack Jacks

    December 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    They should put an out of whack jacks there. F*ck penny gardens

  34. “It’s essentially Philly’s version of Orlando CityWalk. I don’t really think it’s a bad idea, but I’m so tired of the corporate sponsors slapping their name over EVERYTHING nowadays.”
    Posted by: Beth Youells | December 15, 2011 at 12:29 PM
    You mean the City Walk complex at Universal Studios in Orlando, me dear Beth.

    The Real IBMcG—Often imposterered, never outclassed.

  35. this all sounds great and fun but i still would prefer to have the spectrum lots of memories

  36. Hopefully this project will attract a higher class of prostitutes to the area.

  37. boy do we have some grumpy wumpies in here or what

  38. WerthlessComment

    December 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Is that Victory Beer Hall sponsored by Victory Brewing or just the name of the place?
    There’s no indication above that Victory Brewing has anything to do with it.
    I like beer.

  39. it’s victory brewing

  40. They need a t*ty bar in there

  41. “grumpy wumpies”? (Posted by: Ryan | December 15, 2011 at 02:26 PM )
    Ryan, you’ve been reading too much of this blog… “For realsies” hahahahahahahah

    The Real IBMcG—Often imposterered, never outclassed.

  42. IH8Negadelphians

    December 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    WTF is wrong with you brain f***ing dead Negadelphians? You people incessantly bitch about what this area lacks and when we get developments that other places have…YOU STILL MOTHER F***ING COMPLAIN. Move to some sun belt shithole like Phoenix because that where trash like you Negadelphians belong. The only thing this place needs is a new smaller arena. The Spectrum was outdated but a 7-10K arena for the Phantoms and smaller concerts would have made this entertainment place even more viable. Come On Old Man Ed…build a newer smaller Spectrum!!

  43. as an out of towner, this is really cool. Now I have an excuse for the wifey to head to the Flyers game 5 hours early so we can eat (drink) and hang out a bit. If they build a hotel, all the better.

  44. the more places to get drunk and have a good time the better

  45. Love it except chickie & Petes being a part of it. Pete the crab is a tool

  46. IH8Negadelphians, I agree, which is why the only thing I’m kvetching about is that the should have done it much sooner when Disney’s Pleasure Island and Universal’s City Walk killed Church Street Station up in downtown Orlando. Unlike Ocean Drive down in the 33139, but much like South Street in Philly, Church Street was great but it was too small and crowded and getting there and parking was a hassle, so it didn’t take long for the Theme Parks nightlife venues to put an end to it.
    The one thing I don’t understand is that the should have kept the superstructure of the Spectrum up and find a way to incorperate them bones into the new venue. You know, mix the old with the new, maybe mark the very spot where the Flyers first hoisted The Cup back in ’74…

    The Real IBMcG—Often imposterered, never outclassed.

  47. Yo, IBM! Didn’t you used to build computers?

  48. Iron Balls McGinty

    December 15, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    wtf

  49. I wish there was a brothel there

  50. Iron Balls McGinty

    December 15, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    can only imagine all the pussy and crab fries down there.

  51. looks like the fake ibm is back

  52. Pronger’s Head (bad timing, don’t you think?), does the pope shyte in the woods?
    Flash/Ron Noel/Ashley G/Etc (whatever fake name you you go by at the moment):
    Don’t you ever get tired of posting the same lame shyte over and over and over and over again? Cause its’ sure as shyte we’re all tired of seeing it over and over and over and over again.
    Fuck all the lame fakers. No originnalitty cause they’re too stoopid, and got nothing better to do because they’re limited by their stoopiditty.

    The Real IBMcG—Often imposterered, never outclassed.

  53. I agree iron balls

  54. Great site and nice design. Such interesting sites are really worth comment. Thanks you for sharing your information. I appreciate any insights or your own story regarding something similar. Hope see your next posts next time.

  55. IBM. Get a life, you pathetic cock gobbler

  56. Iron Balls McGinty

    December 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I have a small thin penis

  57. From selling coke in mayfair, to cutting out your dad’s partner, to Chickie & Petes soon to be worldwide brand. Another philly success story, pete the crab.

  58. Haters gonna hate. More $$$ no problems

  59. Iron Balls McGinty

    December 16, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I’ll fuck anybody

  60. Aye, I shagged a lot of ladies in me life and still do.
    Most of them are/were who-wers:
    http://youtu.be/1SoCRAswbNA?t=13s
    But I’ll never pull a Ron Noel.
    It’s all gals who were born gals (none of that sex-change shyte), nothing else.

    The Real IBMcG—Often imposterered, never outclassed.

  61. Real IBM is the best baby

  62. They have one in Glendale in AZ and it is really awesome for not just sporting events, but concerts too. I don’t really understand why everybody is bitching about this so much.

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