I LOVE the Sixers’ new in-arena lighting. If you’ll recall, showman Adam Aron had, on several occasions, mentioned that the Sixers were exploring options to get in-arena lighting similar to what we see during Lakers games at the Staples Center and Knicks games at Madison Square Garden. In fact, he sent out a series of Tweets about it right before he was, um, reassigned last year. I wrote quite extensively about how cool I thought it would be. Streamers, songs, t-shirt cannons*, and Phlight Squad aside, that dark arena look, I think, is one thing that actually makes a game feel like an event. The Wells Fargo Center is an over-lit, often soulless, vanilla-looking cavern. It’s a phone book. In Comcast Country, you’re expected to focus on everything but the action on the floor. The arena actively tries to make your viewing experience worse. I can’t adequately convey how awful it is and how much I hate it.
But this year, the Sixers are using the new Lakers-style lighting [UPDATE], and it’s awesome. I felt like I was watching a game at the Spectrum. The focus is on the game. The Sixers stink, and their opener against the Heat hovered somewhere between meh and watchable, but for two and a half hours, I was at an event. I was in the dark, the players were in the light. I was Bane, they were Batmen. It looked great in person. And on TV… well, just compare these screenshots of the openers against the Heat last year (left) and this year (right):
You’ll notice two things in those photos:
1) This year, the fans are in the shadows and the focus is on the court, which now has a bathed-in-reading-light quality to it. It’s nice, and comforting, and would only be made better by a cup of warm cocoa.
2) As is the case on Flyers broadcasts, CSN moved the score bug into the corner of the screen, since non-HD households are getting the widescreen feed now anyway. I like that.
Not everyone will agree with me on this. I asked Jim for his thoughts – he was sitting across the arena, in 117 – and he said: “Honestly, it didnt look, in person, as dramatic as I thought it would. Yeah I mean, I haven’t sat down low in a few seasons, so I didnt really have much of a frame of reference.”
To each his own.
Excuse me while I feign outrage for a moment.
The most underrated foodstuff**, bar none, at the Wells Fargo Center is the roast beef sandwich — I think they called it Cheddar Beef — at the Red-Bell-Brewery-whatever-it-was-next-P.J.-Whelihan’s. It has been my go-to since day one. I’ve written about it before. There is never a long line, the sandwich is hot and consistently tasty, and the service – courtesy of old ladies with delightful hair – is always friendly. The other night, at halftime, I made my usual stop to order a Cheddar Beef (horseradish, peppers on the side, extra napkins) and was informed by one of the old ladies with delightful hair that they would be CLOSING DOWN FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE SIXERS SEASON. They’ll still be there for Flyers games, but she explained that they just don’t sell enough sandwiches during basketball games. Apparently their business has been upended by the trendy Carvery behind section 120– the Walmart of The Well. Now, setting aside the very real issue of those ladies potentially missing out on 40 nights of pay per year (I don’t know if that’s actually the case), this simply can’t be allowed to happen. That sandwich is too good, too under-appreciated… and the friendly ladies, too unsung. Sensing my melancholy, the ladies, unaware of my sort of large platform here, encouraged me to write-in to show my support. I’m doing them one better– I’m hashtagging this post and every Sixers post from now until the end of the
year week #WheresTheBeef. Whether it’s a team issue or an Aramark issue, I don’t care. This must be resolved. I physically can’t watch basketball – Sixers or Villanova – at the Wells Fargo Center without my beef, without my ladies. FIX IT.
The folks at Bleacher Creatures passed this along. I want one, but wish they would come up with a Second Round Draft Pick doll.
*I caught a soft-feel basketball shot into the stands, one-handed, on the fly. Probably the second greatest moment of my sporting career.
**The Campo’s cheesesteak makes a strong case, though.