Norfolk, Virginia City Manager Wants To Build An Arena

There is no plan at the moment for a venue.

The city manager of Norfolk, Virginia wants to see his town build an arena that might eventually house a National Basketball Association, or a National Hockey League or Women’s National Basketball Association franchise. But there is no plan other than the city manager, Chip Filer, saying that he “anticipates” regional cooperation in developing an arena. Of course, that brings up the question of why any other municipality in that area would chip in to build an arena that would have no financial benefit for that municipality. While Filer was masking his claims, the Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney and the Chesapeake City Manager Chris Price said “no active discussions are taking place.”

The Norfolk 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 Virginia. Nothing ever materialized.

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FILE – Philadelphia 76ers Bobby Jones, left, embraces one time Virginia Squires star Julius Erving after the 76ers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in four straight games to win the NBA Championship, May 31, 1983. (AP Photo, File)