Flames unveil new Liberty Arena with hoops season set to tip off

The arena will host its first event December 1, with a women’s basketball game against Norfolk State.
Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 6:41 PM EST
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - After two years under construction, the new home of the Liberty Flames is officially open for business.

The brand new Liberty Arena will host the Flames men’s and women’s basketball home games, as well as the volleyball team.

“In our practice gym, there’s a banner that says, ‘Dream your biggest dreams,’ and Ephesians 3:20 and it just talks about the immeasurable can happen,” said Liberty head men’s basketball coach Ritchie McKay. “I never thought this day would come to fruition, and here we are, in front of a bunch of cameras that are celebrating the opening of one of the finest facilities in mid-major basketball, if not all of college basketball.”

With a capacity of 4,000, the new facility is less than half the size of its predecessor, the Vines Center, which held more than 9,500.

But with enhanced lighting, a state-of-the-art jumbotron and prime viewing even from the “nosebleeds,” McKay is hoping the new digs will provide Flames Nation a chance to carry over the energy it brought to the ASUN Championship game.

“That was as loud as I’ve ever heard the Vines Center and it was worth a few points for us,” said McKay. “I’m hoping our fans will come back and that we give them something to come back for so that we could maybe create an atmosphere like that, that may even be better because of how low the ceiling is and how close the confines are.”

The arena will host its first event on December 1, with a women’s basketball game against Norfolk State, while the men’s team will debut there two days later.

Pandemic restrictions will limit the home-court advantage for this inaugural season, but women’s hoops coach Carey Green said it’s still a blessing to help usher in a new era of Liberty athletics.

“We’re going to enjoy it, regardless of who is in the stands or not,” he said. “But we do welcome the Flames Nation and our community when those doors come wide open. We expect to have a lot of people enjoying this venue as much as we do.”

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