The sports complex in South Philadelphia has always been known for its great pre-game tailgate atmosphere over the years. But if you’ve been to other stadiums you quickly realize the great tailgate atmosphere in Philadelphia is by default due to its wide open, spacious parking lots and lack of dining/entertainment establishments nearby. Many years ago when it was just Veterans Stadium and the Spectrum that existed on the grounds of the sports complex the only party going on pre-game was in the parking lot itself. Eventually the Well Fargo Center was constructed followed by Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Park and the Spectrum and Vet came crumbling to the ground. Throughout the years the tailgate was still the primary experience for fans prior to games but for those of us that preferred their pre-game beverage inside McFaddens at the ball park was a spot to head to along with PJ. Whelihans or the Cure Insurance Club at the Wells Fargo Center and also you could take about a 10 minute walk to Chicky and Petes just down Broad Street.
However on big game days and after a big win these places became very overcrowded and the discomfort was felt by all as fans were jam packed inside. The popularity of sports in this town clearly outgrew the number of facilities available for fans to gather and celebrate at thus in 2008 the concept of Xfinity Live was thought of. XFinity Live will be located on the same grounds the Spectrum once stood on and will provide a place for fans to gather at on game-days and non game-days alike. The complex will be open seven days a week from 11am -2am as it hopes to draw on the approximately 8.5 million fans that attend games and concerts in South Philadelphia on a yearly basis. The complex will feature 6 establishments offering food and beverage to all.
Xfinity Live will offer something to everyone visiting the Sports Complex. For instance the Spectrum Grill will offer a sleek, sophisticated atmosphere featuring prime steaks, chops, and seafood in a fine dining/lounge atmosphere. The NBC Sports Arena will give fans a spectacular viewing experience as it will feature a 32-foot diagonal SONY LED HD Television to maximize game-day viewing for fans not in the stadiums. The PBR Bar & Grill will be a western themed venue featuring a mechanical bull and the Philly MarketPlace will serve as a central gathering where a variety of food stands will be available for fans to choose from. For those of you in a vintage mood the Broad Street Bullies Pub will feature authentic memorabilia from legendary Flyers teams of the 70s while the Victory Beer Hall will offer a variety of craft beers brewed right here in the Philadelphia Region.
The tailgate experience will still be just as strong as years past at the sports complex but Xfinity Live will serve as another venue for fans to gather and celebrate. It’s the missing link to what we’ve needed all these years in South Philly. Over the years after attending a game the choices outside the stadiums were scarce. It was either get stuffed in McFaddens, walk to Chicky & Petes, or get in the car and drive into center city after the big game. With Xfinity Live now set to open fans will no longer have to jump in the car to drive elsewhere as the game-day experience can live beyond just the game itself.
I envision Xfinity Live as something good for all fans in the Philadelphia region as well as the local economy. For those of us that have been visiting the sports complex since the days of the Vet & Spectrum the transformation from then to now is something many of us never could have imagined. Times have changed and the time is now for the Philadelphia Sports Complex to serve as more than just a place to watch sports but rather an entertainment destination for all in the Delaware Valley to enjoy for years to come.