September 8, 2022 : By Jacob Couch - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
Liberty University is prepared to host the largest crowds in Williams Stadium history this football season, starting with Saturday’s showdown with the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Blazers. With the most anticipated home schedule to date, tickets are selling at a record pace, and an energized, near-capacity crowd is expected for the first home game. The 6 p.m. kickoff will be the climax of months of preparation by Liberty University Athletics to ensure that game day festivities are bigger and better this year than ever before.
The most recognizable updates are above the south end zone, where a newly graded berm allows for overflow seating. Above the berm are 23 cabanas that offer a unique view of the game. Liberty has also upgraded the seating throughout the stadium — all bleachers on the west side have been replaced with chairback seats, and all seats on the upper east side are now bench back seats.
“The Williams Stadium projects completed this summer have substantially enhanced an already elite game day experience for Flames Nation,” said Director of Athletics Ian McCaw. “The improved seating, new berm, and luxurious cabanas will be a treat for our fans. Williams Stadium has added modern amenities that rival the best college football venues in America.”
The energetic game time atmosphere will be enhanced by a new pre-game event this year, Tailgate Town, that Liberty hopes will become tradition. Fans can reserve a space alongside the walkway leading to Gate 1, complete with a tent, tables, chairs, and a parking pass. Tailgate Town will open at 8 a.m. and close an hour after each game ends. (Each tent comes with a personalized yard sign with the family or company’s name.)
Flames Club members can also tailgate in a new designated area, the Relevant Law Tailgating Lot, located by the LaHaye Ice Center. Each parking pass comes with additional space to tailgate.
“As we have been growing as a program, we know we want to grow our tailgating culture on campus,” said Drew Boykin (’18), director of annual giving for the Flames Club. “We want to make sure that no matter what area of campus you’re on, there are tailgate tents and people hanging out before the game, creating a really good game day atmosphere.”
The fun will continue with the Flames Fan Fest (presented by Motor World), a pregame favorite for families, at 3:30 p.m. in the Liberty University Indoor Practice Facility. Families can play lawn games, and children can enjoy inflatables. The event is free and
open to all ticket holders. As part of a new pregame ritual, the Flames Football team will walk through Fan Fest when they arrive at Williams Stadium approximately two hours before game time. Also for the first time, Fan Fest participants will be entertained by the Spirit of the Mountain Marching Band prior to the band taking the field for their pregame performance and national anthem 20 minutes before kickoff. Additionally, Flames Club members can purchase a pregame meal. The festivities conclude 30 minutes prior to game time. (For more information, call the Flames Club at (434) 582-2582.)
“In the fall, you have six Saturdays to have college football on your campus,” Boykin said. “We need to make the most of those. We want to make sure that it is an all-day event. We want this to be a full day where friends and family come out and support the team.”
Fans will also enjoy new concession offerings during the game. A new Food Truck Alley will be located behind the west side of the stadium and will feature some of Lynchburg’s most beloved food trucks, including County Smoak, Nomad Coffee, and Clarkboys Kettle Corn.
For the Flames’ first four games, the Flames Club will be handing out exciting giveaways, including 2022 Flames Football schedule magnets, Head Coach Hugh Freeze bobbleheads, Liberty flags, and alpine hats.
“Liberty has done a great job of setting this up for our fans and alumni to come and just have a family, Christ-centered, fun day,” said Robert Goodman, associate athletic director for sales & athletics promotions. “I think our fans are going to see some great improvements in the stadium that everyone is going to enjoy this season.”
The Flames are coming off a thrilling, fourth-overtime win over Southern Miss last weekend, building momentum for Saturday’s home opener and looking ahead to hosting Akron (Sept. 24), Gardner Webb (Oct. 15), BYU (Oct. 22), Virginia Tech (Nov. 19), and New Mexico State (Nov. 26).
In Freeze’s fourth year as the team’s sideline general, the Flames will look to improve upon their 8-5 record from 2021, and their fans will fuel them to a potential fourth consecutive bowl game appearance this season.
To accommodate the increase in attendance and the influx of game-day traffic on campus, Liberty has arranged for one-way entry and exit plans for each parking lot. (View map and parking information). All game parking passes are now digital. For more game day information, visit LibertyFlames.com.