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  • Writer's pictureAaron S. Terry

Arthur L. Williams Stadium – Liberty Flames


Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.71

Williams Stadium 1971 University Blvd Lynchburg, VA 24502



Year Opened: 1989

Capacity: 25,000

 

Taking Names in Lynchburg

Arthur L. Williams Stadium in Lynchburg, VA is home to the Liberty Flames football team, and was built in 1989; its current capacity is 25,000. The facility started off with only 12,000 seats, but underwent a major renovation a few years back when Liberty made the move from FCS to FBS. The facility now includes two-story stands on both the east and west sides, a five-story press box complete with 18 suites, and seating around the horseshoe of the south end zone, which boasts both box seats as well as berm seating, capped off by brick arches built into the wall surrounding the venue.


The current attendance record at Williams Stadium (24,012) was set on October 22, 2022 in a game against the BYU Cougars (a game which Liberty won handily). Since joining FBS the Flames have competed in and won three consecutive bowl games (and based on their current record will most likely be invited back after this season); the Flames currently compete as an FBS Independent, but will join Conference USA next year.


Food & Beverage 5

Williams Stadium has an amazing selection of food and beverage options at its concessions stands – there are the main stands which offer your basic stadium fare, but also a host of additional stands from local restaurants which offer more unique items, including Bacon St. Bagels which offers grilled bagel melts with options ranging from Grown Up Grilled Cheeses to Roast Beef & Swiss, or Rookie’s which offers ice cream sandwiches, ice cream sundaes, lemonade, and warm chocolate chip cookies.


Food options available from the main stands include burgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, nachos, popcorn, candy, and chips, and they also sell combos with football-themed names like Safety (hot dog, chips, and a drink) or Third Down (chicken, fries, and a drink). The prices are pretty reasonable with a hamburger coming in at $4, chicken tender for $5, candy for $2, and chips for $1 as an example.


Drink options at Williams Stadium include Coke products from the fountain or in bottles, bottled water, coffee, and hot cocoa – drinks cost $3 except for the souvenir soda cup which is $8. Note however that there is no alcohol sold at Williams Stadium, as Liberty is a Christian university (founded by none other than Jerry Falwell).


Atmosphere 5

Williams Stadium is a great venue for college football, and it is no wonder the football program decided to make the move to FBS. The facility itself is a great venue with lots of great amenities, and the fans (particularly the student section) are very supportive of their team and their school.


The action on game day starts with the band marching in, and as with many teams there are fireworks when the home team scores (and after a win), as well as the spirit squad with flags waving, plus spurts of smoke and fire (remember the team is called the “Flames”) when the team comes onto the field. The mascot is also really great, and you might even spot him playing rock-paper-scissors with the opposing team’s mascot in-between bouts of t-shirt tossing and otherwise revving up the fans in the stadium.


The Liberty Band may be the highlight of the day, however – before the game they do a ton of great formations on the field, for example the “L-U” (for Liberty University) which they actually do twice, spectacularly rotating themselves around so both sets of stands can see the formation right-side up. The band also spells out “U-S-A” during the National Anthem, as well as spelling out the word “Liberty”.


Liberty Flames Band Formation on Scoreboard, Photo by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey


There is also a large jumbotron behind the north end zone atop the new athletics center, and you can even see fans watching the game from the second and third stories of that building – that is the same end of the field the team comes in from. Behind the south end zone there is a giant Liberty logo in the center, surrounded by fenced-off sections of berm seating with a few sections of box seats along the top. You can also see the main entrance beyond that with beautiful brickwork and nice arches, providing a very pleasing aesthetic all around.


Neighborhood 4

Bordered on one side by a freeway and by campus building, athletic fields, and parking lots on the other three sides, there aren’t any restaurants within sight of Williams Stadiums, but you can find plenty to eat within a short walk. Along Route 29 to the north of the stadium are plenty of fast food places, but there are some more upscale options like Red Lobster and Olive Garden. However, if you want to take in some local flavor I would recommend either Vinny’s Italian Grill & Pizzeria (your classic campus pizza place) or Macado’s (a pop culture-themed local favorite offering great sandwiches) – Macado’s is within walking distance of the stadium, right across the street from the Pink Lot parking.


The 2 closest hotels to Williams Stadium are Super 8 and Extended Stay America (both within walking distance of the venue), but these are a little on the low end, so you might want to look for something farther out like the nearby Residence Inn or Fairfield Inn & Suites. And if you plan to be in town for the weekend, there are a couple of great historical sites to visit near Lynchburg, such as the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, or the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum in Staunton.


Fans 5

Williams Stadium boasts a great crowd, especially in the student section. The fans are very loud, and deservedly so given how successful the Flames have been on the gridiron over the last few years. Since moving to FBS, Williams Stadium can easily pull in over 20K fans at an average game. You will also see plenty of team gear being worn, which is sold at the stadium in case you didn’t bring your own.


But by far the most impressive (and vocal) set of fans at Liberty football games is the student section – the students sit on the “visitors” side, are very loud, and really get into the game – you will see them making the first down signal en masse whenever the announcer gives that call, and all of them are decked out head to toe in Liberty red, most with boom sticks at the ready. And of course in the front row you will see that ubiquitous diehard group going shirtless with painted chests, which is always a great boost to the atmosphere at any sports venue.


Liberty Flames Student Section, Photo by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey


Access 4

Getting to Williams Stadium is fairly easy, given that there is a major freeway literally within sight of the venue (Highway 460 is just to the east). However, parking can be a bit of challenge – the cost is not unreasonable, but the lots (especially the pass ones) can take a while to get out of after the game, which is surprising given the relatively small size of the crowd compared to many other FBS stadiums. Also, most of the parking seems to be near the northwest corner of the facility, and that entrance is a little hard to use given the uphill climb to get there.


However, on the plus side once you get into Williams Stadium moving around is very easy – there is a walking path that connects the two grandstands, and it is raised above the field so you never have to miss any of the action while you are walking to and fro. Also, there are plenty of bathrooms and concessions stands, so you shouldn’t have to spend much time in line during your visit.


Return on Investment 5

General admission tickets to Liberty Flames games at Williams Stadium range from $30 to $60 depending on the opponent, but they charge the same price for the chair backs as the bench backs, with the berm seats coming in a little lower. Also the concessions are on the low end, and parking is very reasonable, making your trip to Lynchburg a stellar value for your sports dollar. You could easily get by here for around $50 to $75 per person for a ticket, a snack, and a beverage (again depending on the game – the Va Tech game being the most expensive and the FCS games being the cheapest).


Extras 5

The Liberty band is a great plus at Williams Stadium for all the different formations they do, and the mascot is a lot of fun as well. But most impressive are the fireworks and the spurts of flame before the team comes onto the field (if you are close enough you can really feel the heat from them). I know several venues that use spurts of flame as part of their intro (including some NFL teams), but there is something to be said for it here with a team known as the Flames.


Liberty Flames Taking the Field Between Fire and Smoke, Photo by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey


Final Thoughts

The renovations to Williams Stadium are long since complete, and the team has really proven itself since moving to FBS with three consecutive bowl wins in the past three seasons, so the experience here is pretty close to top notch and should only get better with time. That said, Williams Stadium is definitely worth a look, so make time to take in a Flames game this season; you won’t regret it.

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