Reed Cordish on Sports-Fueled Xfinity Live!
BY MARNI PRICHARD MANKO
To Xfinity—and beyond!: Reed Cordish, inside Xfinity Live!’s Victory Beer Hall
It's no secret that Philadelphia sports fans are true zealots. Yes, for our much-maligned antics, GQ deemed us "the meanest fans in America"—but they have it all wrong. We are not mean: We are just impassioned by the teams that represent our fair city, regularly packing into the stadiums where the magic takes place. Which is why visionary developer Reed Cordish knows there is a lot at stake with the new Xfinity Live! entertainment complex.
"Most cities, maybe all cities, have civic pride," says the affable 37-year-old vice president of Cordish Companies, a development company based in Baltimore. "But I would say that Philadelphia definitely takes that pride to even higher levels."
It's the pressure of this scrutiny that has motivated him, along with Ed Snider and Comcast-Spectacor, to redefine the boundaries of recreation with Xfinity Live!, a premier dining and entertainment district neatly nestled between the Wells Fargo Center, Citizens Bank Park, and Lincoln Financial Field. Hyped as the "fourth stadium experience," Xfinity Live! is unlike anything Philly has seen before.
"We've had the privilege of developing all over the country, but I've never been this excited about any other development like this one," says Cordish. "What we have the opportunity to do here is create a gathering place. Before, people came in, they went to the event, and then they were out of there. Now we are creating this truly first-class dining and entertainment district that will give this whole complex a sense of place it was lacking."
To wit, the innovative venue includes high-end restaurants and casual dining options, a high-tech outdoor viewing theater, the 100-foot ribbon Comcast SportsNet Ticker, a 20,000-square-foot full-size sports field, and the first ever NBC Sports Arena, where fans can watch games on an indoor 32-foot LED screen. Pairing some of the city's most iconic establishments—Chickie's & Pete's, Mitchell & Ness, Victory Brewing Company—with one of the world's biggest powerhouse brands (NBC), Xfinity Live! is a 60,000-square-foot treat for all the senses. "We wanted to duplicate that 'wow' sensation you get when you walk into a stadium and you feel the energy and see the lights on the field," explains Cordish.
However, Cordish insists that despite its sports-centricity, Xfinity Live! is for everyone. If people are in the mood for a superlative meal, they can indulge at the Spectrum Grill. If they want to catch a free concert from a major international act, they can visit any Saturday night, 52 weeks a year. And, of course, if there is an important road game, Cordish wants people to gather in the arena to cheer on the team en masse.
"The one thing Ed Snider said to us when he brought us on was, 'Whatever you do, make sure this is the best district of its kind in the country,'" he says. "I know this will rival any sports experience in the world. This will set a new standard. People will now look at Philadelphia and say, 'I want what they have.'" And that's something even the most die-hard Philly fan can root for.
photography by ben weldon