XFINITY Live! is set to open in less than 30 days. Situated in the middle of the Wells Fargo Complex, this sports-themed dining and entertainment district sets out to redefine FUN with a little something for everyone. Join me as I take a special hard hat tour…
For years, Philadelphians have turned to the stadiums for sports games, concerts and traveling shows. The Phillies, Eagles and Flyers all call this area their permanent home. The teams share their turf with Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus, Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, American Idols and national touring productions.
On non-event days, you can stand and watch as a dust bunny rolls across the parking lot (cue in the old-style western music). On event days, the area is teaming with screaming fans and tailgaters who make a near-instant disappearing act in the last inning. They jump in their cars to head home, or they slip into the subway toward Center City for drinks and dancing.
XFINITY Live! aspires to be a game changer in the dining and entertainment scene by shaking up these tried and true routines. On non-game days XFINITY Live! sets out to attract foodies, locals and families. On game days, it will compete head-to-hed with Center City and Old City by keeping the party in the heart of deep South Philly. Let the fun begin!
HARD HAT PREVIEW
Just blocks from my house, construction crews hammer away on the site of the former Spectrum. As I stand Broad Street, XFINITY Live! looks tiny against the backdrop of Citizens Bank Park and the Wells Fargo Center. At this stage of the game, less than 30 days from its grand opening, there are pools of mud and puffs of concrete dust. There is no landscaping to speak of, and plastic banners dangle from ropes. Appearances, though, can be so deceiving!
As I step around wiring and boards, I find myself shrinking faster than Alice in the rabbit hole as I entered the massive Marketplace hall. From the outside, the building looked smaller than I imagined, but once inside it looked bigger than my wildest imagination. While decorative touches weren’t yet on the agenda, I could visualize the promise of a new high-end dining and entertainment “district.” I was in total awe!
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
XFINITY Live! will be a 50,000 square foot, seven-day-a-week sports-themed food and entertainment district. The expansive indoor and outdoor spaces will focus around six main components:
- Broad Street Bullies Pub — Philly-style sports bar
- Spectrum Grille — High end steak restaurant with cigar patio
- PBR Bar & Grill — Tex-Mex style restaurant with mechanical bull
- Victory Beer Hall – German beer garden
- Philly Marketplace — Oversized eatery with some retail spaces
- NBC Sports Arena –First-ever, one-of-a-kind sports viewing experience
It all sounds fun, but I wondered, “What makes it a “district” and not just a cool building or mini-mall? For starters, the new space will foster a sense of community, where everyone from bull riders, concert goers, sports fans, foodies, music fans and families will converge, mix and mingle. Activities will transform the stadium area into a non-stop, must-do destination catering to sports and non-sports patrons. Food and entertainment will satisfy every possible taste and desire — all under one roof. The liquor license extends from one end of the property to the other, inside and out. This means drink connoisseurs can stroll with their microbrews into the Marketplace to wash down their cheese steak, or bring them outside to catch a glimpse of the city skyline.
Besides the beer and grub, what else makes it so special? Flexible is the word my tour guides kept throwing around. The new entertainment district will boast amazing indoor and outdoor spaces that can easily change and adapt to meet the needs of the day (or hour!) — whether that means a mellow non-game night with a smaller intimate crowd, or a jam-packed day with a Phillies game and major concert on the calendar. Flexible space, and a highly trained staff, mean seamless, unique and unforgettable event experience for patrons.
SPORTS TO THE MAX
XFINITY Live! will be marketed to stand on its own — so that you don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy the fun. However, for sports fans this will be the holy grail of sports viewing. Get ready to churn out even more hometown spirit in your official new tailgating and game viewing spot. Through a partnership with Sony, XFINITY Live! Philadelphia will open with state-of-the-art audio and video systems, including Sony flat panel televisions, to ensure everyone in the venue will have a high-definition view of the game. The XFINITY™ On Demand Theater, a 24-foot wide, Sony LED video board, will show games outside.
Inside, Philadelphia has been chosen to host the first ever, NBC Sports Arena, which will boast a 32-foot diagonal, 6mm, million dollar Sony LED HD television, high impact LED Rings displaying the NBC Sports Ticker, and in-game promotions that will rival any live sports experience in the world. Philly folks will come to refer to this as the city’s “fourth” stadium. We also get bragging rights as it is the highest definition of its size in the world! This massive arena will be complimented with a wall of 60 inch high-definition TVs below.
By day, XFINITY Live! boasts a full line up of family-friendly activities and spaces. The NBC Sports Field, an outdoor artificial turf field, will be a great place for families to picnic on a nice spring day. The field will also be home to special events and free concerts. From the field, families can view the XFINITY™ On Demand Theater, a 24-foot wide, Sony LED video board, which will show both sports game and movies. Tour guides said movies will include “first-run” premium flicks that are appropriate for all ages. Inside XFINITY Live!, kids will enjoy casual fair and games at Broad Street Bullies Pub. If they are good, parents can treat them at the for ice cream and other sweets in the Philly Marketplace. To keep up, exhausted parents can get a shot of high-end coffee inside the Marketplace. When the kids are all tucked in, XFINITY Live! is the perfect place for “Mom and Dad” to get a night on the town while staying close to home. Free parking on non-game days is the cherry on top for families on a tight budget, or who don’t want a lot of Center City hassle, parking tickets and traffic.
THINGS I LOVE
Parking will be free on non-game days — which is great for locals (like me!) who want to drop by for a drink or bite to eat. On game days, free parking will start one hour after the last game starts. Over 20,000 spaces promise to give revelers an inexpensive alternative to $25 prices in Center City.
Drunk frat party!? Heck, no. My tour guides said they will be catering to neighborhood folks who will adopt Bullies as their “corner bar.” They also plan on catering to high-end revelers through the VIP spaces and the Spectrum Grille steak house. If per chance things got out of hand, top of the line security is already being put into place to ensure a fun and orderly time for all.
Hail to the new corner bar! As I get older, and busier, making the trek to my favorite haunts in Old City, Center City, Rittenhouse and Manayunk can be a real chore. In less than five minutes I can walk down the street and claim my favorite chair at the city’s fourth stadium and my new local hangout. Fortunately, I will get to meet tens of thousands of new friends from all over the region.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
The formal grand opening is Friday, March 30 featuring a show by a yet-to-be-named “national headling act.” On March 28 and 29, starting at 4:00 PM, concert-goers will get an exclusive pre-concert preview before Bruce Springsteen.
Stay tuned for the second post in this series that will focus specifically on the entertainment, food and drinks.
Disclaimer: No monetary compensation or in-kind items were provided for this post. Philly Loves Fun brings you this preview as a courtesy, and is not involved in any planning or official promotion of this event. Please verify final details, opening dates and times closer to the opening — as it is still a work in progress until the formal unveiling.