Philly Live! to Feature World's Largest Indoor TV Screen (UPDATED)

Philly Live! to Feature World's Largest Indoor TV Screen (UPDATED)

*Please read the update to this post at the very bottom of the post.*

Whenever I head down to the sports complex I am curious to see how much things have progressed with Philly Live!, the mixed-use entertainment development being built where the Spectrum once stood. The initial plans were quite ambitious, but due to the economy have been scaled back a bit. Beyond the glossy artist’s renderings I hadn’t seen a whole lot of specifics about what it’d actually be like.

Without the all-time great BLove of Phillyskyline.com to rely on, I was forced to do some digging on my own. To my surprise, I came across a recent Main Line Media News interview with Lou Scheinfeld, who is Vice President of Development at Comcast-Spectacor.

I was alternately encouraged and dismayed at some of the specifics. I suppose the most logical place to start is when is it actually scheduled to open? The answer, according to the article, is April 1, 2012. Kind of hard to believe that’s only five months away, but it’d certainly make sense that they’d want it open in time for the playoffs (both NHL and NBA).

Additional details, including news on a massive HD television and restaurants after the Jump…

You can read the full interview, but here are a few highlights.

Main Line Media News: I understand Philly Live! is going to have the largest indoor TV screen in  the world?  

Scheinfeld: In the main room, and this is a 55,000 square foot building, which is more than three  times the size of a hockey rink, will be the world's largest indoor TV screen. It's 21 feet wide and  14 feet deep. It not only high-def, but it's known as six-meter, which is the crispest picture you  can get. On both sides will be nine 52-inch screens, which can show more games.

I am all in favor of a giant TV. Seriously, the bigger the TV the better. Also, it’s got to be good if its dimensions are expressed in both metric and U.S. customary units. TV’s sound good, so what about the food? Well….

Main Line Media News: You mentioned that 8 1/2 million people come to the Philadelphia sports complex every year. That's a lot of people to be fed. What restaurants will be featured at  Philly Live?  

Scheinfeld: Philly Live! will feature four major restaurants. One is the Spectrum Grill, which is a  high-end steakhouse; we will have the Professional Bull Riders Restaurant, which is a Tex-Mex  restaurant with a mechanical bull; we'll have a German beer hall with the long tables and  peanut shells; and the fourth is the Broad Street Bullies Bar.

Now, this is the part that was disappointing. I am all for the concept of a German beer hall, but all four of the restaurants sound a bit Hard Rock Café/airport terminal-ish. I’ll reserve judgment until they, you know, actually open, but it does not sound promising. Philadelphia is such a great food city. Why not tap local chefs and restaurateurs to bring an authentic Philly flavor? I demand crab fries, dammit!

UPDATE: Looks like there will be a Chickie's and Pete's at the new Philly Live! after all.

I may be getting bent out of shape about nothing – the article is silent as to exactly who will be running these places – but I am skeptical. Unfortunately, this article, detailing 4th Street Live! in Louisville, Kentucky, did little to allay my fears.

The rest of the project will be completed in phases. Phase Two may include a Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, which would be very cool. Phase Three may include a hotel. Naturally, Ed Snider, I mean Mr. Snider, would apparently like it to be a four-star hotel. Perhaps you can overpay for the Chris Gratton suite.

I don’t mean to sound completely underwhelmed. As mentioned, I’ll reserve judgment, but it sounds like it lacks that certain authentic Philly character. I am not sure if that makes sense, but one way to think of it is to imagine the feeling you get when you’re in Citizens Bank Park versus Lincoln Financial Field.

CBP just feels authentically Philly. For reasons I cannot explain, the Linc does not. It’s just a building, a nice building, where the Eagles play football. Where’s Inga Saffron when I need her?

I’d be curious to read your thoughts. What would you like to see? Does the plan as outlined above sound good? Bad? Do you not care so long as you no longer have to use Porta Potty’s over in FDR Park?

UPDATE2: After running this post on Philly Live! a representative from Comcast-Spectacor contacted me and alerted me that some of the development details contained in the post which we quoted from the Main Line Media News were inaccurate. He did not get into specifics, but was certain to point out that the project will indeed have a much more local Philly flavor than disclosed in this post.

Based on the comments to the post we’d say that’s certainly welcome news. He was able to share that details are being finalized, and should be released in the next couple of weeks. We’ll obviously have more information for you once it’s available.

In the meantime, as mentioned originally, we’ll reserve judgment until everything has been finalized.

Nerlens Noel excited for impending return to game action

Nerlens Noel excited for impending return to game action

NEW ORLEANS -- The weeks and months have quickly piled up. Nerlens Noel has not played an NBA regular-season game since last season ended for the Sixers on April 13. Nearly eight months later, Noel is nearing the return he has been eyeing for quite some time now. 

“It’s always an excitement to be able to play basketball after this amount of time, including the summer, not being able to play organized basketball at a competitive level,” Noel said Thursday. “I’ve been really looking forward to this. I think I’ve gained some momentum coming back from this minor surgery, and I think I’m in a really good place and I’m feeling good with my body. Everything is on point.”

Noel has been sidelined since undergoing elective left knee surgery in October to address an inflamed plica. He traveled to New Orleans on Wednesday to join the Sixers ahead of their 99-88 win over the Pelicans (see game recap). Noel continued his rehab Thursday while the team prepped for the game. 

“I’ve been able do five-on-five, full contact,” Noel said. “I’ve tried to maximize my opportunities of that with the team being gone on the road. I came down here and went through most of shootaround and it went well. Now these next couple of days, [I will be] going through practice, still working on my wind. I do like where I’m at now.”

The Sixers’ next game is Sunday against the Pistons in Detroit. Brett Brown had given Noel’s availability for that game a “maybe” (see story)

“I’m not sure,” Noel said of playing Sunday. “I’m ready to go with these next couple of days and see how my wind feels and how my body feels, which I have been feeling good. So it’s a possibility.”

When Noel does return, there is a scenario in which he could be paired with center Joel Embiid. Last year, the Sixers struggled finding the best way to utilize Noel and Jahlil Okafor, also a center, at the same time playing the four and five positions. As Okafor has said of playing with Embiid, Noel also believes his off-the-court friendship with the towering rookie would translate onto the court. 

“I think it would be something that’s experimented,” Noel said. “It’d definitely be interesting.”

Noel candidly expressed his opinion of the Sixers’ logjammed frontcourt at the start of the season. Since speaking to the media after his surgery, Noel has mentioned he is in a good mental place (see story). For him, that means being out on the court again. 

“I love myself and I love the game of basketball,” Noel said. “When I step out here to come and play, it just brings a lot of enjoyment and excitement to me. Regardless of what the details of it are, I just love the game and I’m happy to just be playing.”

Best of NHL: Flames edge Coyotes in OT for fifth straight win

Best of NHL: Flames edge Coyotes in OT for fifth straight win

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dougie Hamilton scored 1:09 into overtime, Chad Johnson stopped 27 shots and the Calgary Flames beat the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on Thursday night.

Mark Giordano scored for the Flames in a chippy game filled with big hits and multiple fights.

Hamilton capped a fast-paced overtime by deking Arizona's Mike Smith with a forehand before flipping in a backhander. Calgary has won five straight and eight of 11 (8-2-1).

Max Domi scored before leaving with an upper-body injury and Smith stopped 33 shots for the Coyotes, who have lost six straight and 11 of 14 (3-7-4).

Arizona captain Shane Doan became Arizona's all-time assist leader and is the fifth player in NHL history to own his team's records for games played, goals, assists, points, game-winning goals and power-play goals (see full recap).

Crosby, Penguins roll over Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Sidney Crosby got his 18th goal and added an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Florida Panthers 5-1 on Thursday night.

Conor Sheary, Tom Kuhnhackl, Matt Cullen and Carl Hagelin also scored for Pittsburgh. Matt Murray made 28 saves.

The Penguins have won four straight and five of their past six.

Jaromir Jagr scored his 755th career goal, and Roberto Luongo stopped 25 shots for the Panthers. Luongo allowed three goals on Pittsburgh's first five shots.

Panthers coach Tom Rowe, who replaced Gerard Gallant on Nov. 28, made his home debut. The Panthers have lost five of six under Rowe, but managed a point in three of those losses (see full recap).

Price loses cool as Habs beat Devils
MONTREAL -- Carey Price lost his temper after being bumped twice in his crease and made 19 saves to help the Montreal Canadiens beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Thursday night.

Torrey Mitchell scored twice and Phillip Danault, Artturi Lehkonen and Max Pacioretty also had goals for the Canadiens in their return from a five-game trip.

Adam Henrique scored a goal and set up one by Taylor Hall for New Jersey, which ended a two-game winning streak.

Montreal had a season-high 49 shots on Cory Schneider.

A wild first period included three goals, four goal reviews and Price's meltdown (see full recap).