Norfolk Is Not Building An Arena For An NBA Or NHL Team


City elected officials may renovate the existing arena.

For those hoping that Norfolk, Virginia elected officials would build an arena that might eventually house a National Basketball Association, or a National Hockey League or Women’s National Basketball Association franchise, that dream is over. Norfolk officials no longer have plans to build a new arena on the Military Circle Mall parcel after the mall is razed. The next plan could be the renovations of the 53-year-old, 10,000-seat Scope Arena and the 52-year-old Chrysler Hall, a 2,500-seat theater. The reason that a new arena is not coming to the Hampton Roads, Virginia market is simple. Norfolk does not have the money needed to build a structure as arena construction costs have skyrocketed since 2019 when there was the first discussion of building a new facility.

The Hampton Roads area is the largest United States market without a Major League Baseball franchise, without a National Football League team, without a National Basketball Association franchise, without a National Hockey League club, without a Major League Soccer squad, without a Women’s National Basketball Association team. The area once had an American Basketball Association team on a part-time basis. The Virginia Squires franchise operated as a regional franchise and played games across the state. The Squires franchise employed some of the biggest names of the 1970s including Rick Barry, Julius Erving and George Gervin. Squires’ ownership had money problems and shut down before the NBA took in four ABA teams in June, 1976. In 1997, the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets owner George Shinn proposed bringing an NHL expansion franchise to the area but other than making a presentation, nothing came of the notion. In 2013, the then owners of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, the Maloof brothers, visited the market and made some announcement that they were interested in moving to the market. Nothing materialized then and nothing will materialize now.

The Scope, Norfolk, Virgina.

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