The ball will fly at the Arthur Ashe Stadium this summer, but don’t look for the tennis kind. For the first time, the New York Liberty women’s basketball team will host its first regular-season outdoor game there at the site of the U.S. Open.
The professional team, which plays home games at Madison Square Garden, has decided to take its action on the road. The outdoor game against the Indiana Fever will take place on July 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the stadium, which is located at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Park. It is also the first time the tennis stadium is being used for a non-tennis sports event.
Team spokeswoman Casey Sherman said that details still need to be worked out. The Women’s National Basketball Association will provide its own court for the game. Refreshments will be available and there may be some halftime activities.
Sherman hopes the outdoor game is the start of a trend in women’s basketball.
Carol Blazejowski, president and general manager of the New York Liberty, believes the event will be good for the team and the fans and shows the public’s growing interest in women’s basketball.
“That the game is taking place in a venue named after one of the greatest pioneers in women’s sports (Billie Jean King) makes the event particularly meaningful,” she said.
“The Liberty Outdoor Classic will be an extraordinary experience for everyone in attendance — it will bring all of us back to our roots, celebrate the enormous growth and interest in the women’s game and provide an opportunity to gain unprecedented exposure for Liberty basketball and the WNBA.”
Tickets went on sale Thursday for the 23,000 seats at the stadium, the largest public tennis facility in the world. Prices range from $10 to $85 and can be purchased through the Madison Square Garden box office, Ticketmaster outlets, by calling 877-WNBATIX or by contacting the team at www.nyliberty.com.
For group sales of 20 or more, call (212) 465-6080.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The Liberty’s season opens on May 18 and runs through Sept. 14. It is in its 12th year of operation.`