Tennis Anyone? WNBA Tips Off First Outdoor Pro Hoops at Arthur Ashe Stadium

By Andrew Lippe

Arthur Ashe Stadium, in Flushing Queens, the home to so many historic moments in tennis, will have another when the WNBA’s New York Liberty and Indiana Fever play the first-ever outdoor professional basketball game in the U.S. this Saturday, July 19.

“This is an historic moment for women’s sports and we are going to make it is as big as we possibly can,” says Mike Santini, coordinating producer for Madison Square Garden Network.

MSG Network will broadcast the WNBA outdoor game in HD with nine Sony HD hand-held cameras and NMT’s HD3 production unit. “We also will have a jib camera on top of the stadium similar to the same location used during the U.S. Open tennis Tournament,” adds Santini.

The Liberty will play on the hardwood of MSG as the Garden’s court will be laid down over the tennis court. “We will still have all of our prime camera positions,” says Santini. “We have a lot of extra set up time.”

Both coaches will wear microphones during the game and player interviews will include questions rarely asked of basketball players. “We are going to ask the players who come out about how the conditions are affecting the game,” says Santini, as the wind could very well be a factor.

“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,” says Carol Blazejowski, president and general manager, New York Liberty. “That the game is taking place in a venue named after one of the greatest pioneers in women’s sports makes the event particularly meaningful.”

In October the NBA will hold its first outdoor game when the Phoenix Suns play the Denver Nuggets in a pre-season game at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, CA.

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