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.

Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons trust the NFL draft process on the parkway

Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons trust the NFL draft process on the parkway

When fans came to Philadelphia to see the future of the NFL, they got a glimpse of the Sixers’ future too.

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons walked through the draft festivities on Thursday surrounded by fans. 

Embiid posted an Instagram video soaking in a -- you guessed it -- “Trust the Process” chant. Check out that video above.

That night Embiid and Simmons expressed their appreciation for the crowd's enthusiastic reaction.

Humble Eagles' 14th pick Derek Barnett ready to get to work

Humble Eagles' 14th pick Derek Barnett ready to get to work

Derek Barnett, the former Tennessee defensive end, clad in an all-red, three-piece suit, stared at the landline phone in front of him in the green room at the NFL draft on the Ben Franklin Parkway.  

It wasn't ringing.

Despite his best efforts, the 20-year-old couldn't telepathically get that phone to go off. The Eagles, who he knew had some interest in him after a top-30 visit earlier in the offseason, were on the clock. But still, that landline remained silent.

Then his cell phone rang. And it was a Philly number.

"I just got very excited and I really can't explain it because everything happened so fast," Barnett said just after 11 p.m. Thursday. "But it was like a surreal moment."

When he answered the phone, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie was on the other end. Barnett was then passed around from head coach Doug Pederson to defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and likely to the Eagles' two-headed personnel czar Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas.

By the time Barnett joined a conference call with reporters an hour and change later, he had already shaken hands with the commissioner, been shuffled through various media obligations and stood in front of thousands of Eagles fans.

So by 11:05 p.m., when he talked over the phone to reporters at the NovaCare Complex, nothing from his wild night had really settled in.

Of all the players who were selected on Thursday night, he was the only one who won't have to leave the city to be with his new team.

"It's very fun," Barnett said. "That means I can get to work quicker."

The humble pass rusher, who broke Reggie White's sack record at Tennessee, is the type of player that exemplifies what the Eagles are looking for, according to Roseman.

"He stands for what we want to be and I think everyone in the city will see what kind of person he is, what kind of player he is," Roseman said. "Unbelievably high character, unbelievable worker and tremendously talented and productive."

Barnett (6-foot-3, 259 pounds) finished his college career with 32 sacks and Douglas praised the young pass-rusher for his ability to finish at the top of his rush.

The Eagles took Barnett because, they say, he was the top-rated player on their board at the time (see story). But the team still has Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry and Chris Long and Marcus Smith.

Where will Barnett figure into the rotation?

"My mindset is to help the team anyway I can," Barnett said. "I know I have to come in and work hard and earn the respect of my team first. Just because I was a first-round pick, that don't mean nothing. I have to work harder now. My plan is to come in, get around those vets, learn from them and hopefully, when the season comes around, I can be able to contribute."

While the Eagles return several pass-rushers from a year ago, the team desperately needs to find a way to sack quarterbacks, especially because Schwartz's entire defense is predicated on getting pressure with the front four and not blitzing.

Barnett is pretty excited to join the group.

"I love it," Barnett said of Schwartz's defense. "That's my style and I feel like I fit it very well and Coach Schwartz said the same thing, too. I think it's going to be a good fit."

While there was certainly some mumbling when the Barnett picked was announced on the Parkway and while plenty of fans on social media weren't thrilled with the selection (see story), the newest Eagle said he felt nothing but love.

And he can't wait to play in front of those fans on Sundays.

"Great fan base," he said. "I've been feeling the love ever since my name got called. And I was a little nervous at first, I didn't know if I was going to get the love or some boos, but I got a great welcoming and I appreciate the fans for doing that, because I had no clue where I was going to end up at."

Now, he knows. And he won't have to go far.