The WNBA will take its game to the streets of New York, or a close proximity, on July 19 when the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center’s Arthur Ashe Stadium plays host to the Liberty Outdoor Classic.
American Express and The Hallmark Channel, both marketing partners of the WNBA’s New York Liberty, are sponsoring the game. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation will serve as beneficiary of the event, with a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales, as well as various fundraising activities throughout the evening, going to BCRF. A Breast Health Awareness T-shirt, courtesy of Hallmark Channel, will be given to the first 5,000 fans. A crowd of about 18,000 is expected at the stadium, located in Flushing, N.Y.
The event, the first outdoor game for the WNBA and the first nontennis sports event at Arthur Ashe Stadium, will pit the Liberty against the Indiana Fever. The teams will play on a basketball floor transported from Madison Square Garden, where the Liberty play their home games, that will be placed on the spot where the U.S. Tennis Open will be played in late August.
The game, which tips off at 7:30 p.m. (ET), will be aired nationally on NBA-TV, in the New York metro area on MSG, in Indianapolis on FSN Indiana and also streamed live online at www.NYLiberty.com. Prior to the game people can attend a free three-hour fanfest, where the WNBA, NBA, and various WNBA league and Liberty sponsors are expected to activate with signage, giveaways and other promotional efforts.
Among local pro athletes expected to mingle with the pregame crowd are current and former New York Knicks David Lee, Nate Robinson, John Starks and Allan Houston; and Liberty legends Kym Hampton, Teresa Weatherspoon and Sue Wicks.
“It’s definitely a significant milestone for the league,” said Donna Orender, president of the WNBA. “And the decision to use Arthur Ashe Stadium was a fantastic idea. It is a venue of champions.”