Arena Football League heading to Virginia Beach?

Arena Football League

Hey, sorry for the lack of #content over the past few days, it’s been a hectic time in the lives of the HST writers, but we’re back in the swing of things today, and what better way to get back into things than a juicy Arena Football League rumor?!

While wasting time at work and checking out twitter, a friend of mine retweeted a link about Virginia Beach possibly becoming the home to a future NHL franchise.

The reason for that speculation is that the city is getting a new 18,000-seat arena and the people building it have reached out to the NHL about possibly adding at team. Now, that’s mainly just people doing their due diligence in case the opportunity comes up, but Virginia Beach is probably not getting an NHL team anytime soon.

But, in a story from the Virginia Pilot is this juicy rumor:

The arena likely will house an Arena Football League team right away. Luring a major sports franchise remains nothing more than a long shot.

Oh hell yeah.

A brand new arena, in an area with no other major pro sports, it sounds like a match made in heaven, if you ask me.

Virginia Beach is squarely in the AFL footprint, roughly about 3.5 hours of from Washington DC, maybe 4.5 hours from Baltimore, and then its longest trip would be to Tampa, which is roughly 12 hours of driving, or a roughly three-hour flight.

Add it all up, and it makes a lot of sense that Virginia Beach would be in the mix, especially given that it’s TV market 42, has a population of over 450,00 and growing, and has 1.7 million people in its metro area. Again, all this without any other sports team to compete with.

But before you get too excited there are a few things to consider about this before Virginia Beach gets an AFL team.

First, the arena is not slated to be completed until fall of 2019, which is after the AFL season ends, so at the earliest an AFL team would be playing in Virginia Beach in 2020.

Now, maybe they add a team before in hopes of it building a fanbase before the new arena opens, but the only two options are the Scope Arena in Norfolk, or the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton Roads, both of which are around 10,000 to 11,000 seats, and not in the entertainment district of the Virginia Beach area.

Second, there has to be an AFL in 2020 for this to happen. Let’s not forget that currently the AFL is a five-team league that damn-near folded after last season when five teams folded or left. So yeah, while it’s all well and good to say you want an Arena Football League team there, there has to actually be a league for them to play in.

It should be noted that the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Hampton Roads area is no stranger to the AFL game, as they hosted an AFL2 team from 2000 to 2003, in the Norfolk Nighthawks. The Nighthawks played at the Scope Arena and in their four seasons were 35-31, but made the playoffs just once, in the inaugural 2000 season. The team had a pretty good home-field advantage during its time in Norfolk, averaging 4,676 over the four seasons and going 26-7 inside The Scope.

Regardless, this will be an interesting rumor to keep an eye on, and to see if it all develops. What do you think readers, would the Arena Football League be a good fit in Virginia Beach?




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