Norfolk serves as home to two professional franchises, the Norfolk Tides of the International League and the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League. The Tides play at Harbor Park, seating 12,067 and opened in 1993. The Admirals play at Norfolk Scope Arena, seating 8,725 or 13,800 festival seating, which opened in 1971.
The Peninsula Pilots play in the Coastal Plain League, a summer baseball league. The Pilots play in Hampton at War Memorial Stadium seating 5,125 and opened in 1948.
On the collegiate level, four Division I programs—two on the Southside and two on the Peninsula—field teams in many sports, including football, basketball, and baseball; all four currently play football in the second-tier FCS, though one of the schools is preparing for a move to FBS football. The Southside boasts the Old Dominion Monarchs and the Norfolk State Spartans, both in Norfolk, while the Peninsula features the William & Mary Tribe in Williamsburg and Hampton Pirates in Hampton. ODU and W&M are both members of the Colonial Athletic Association. Norfolk State and Hampton, both historically black institutions, compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. ODU has announced a 2013 move to Conference USA, an FBS football conference, and will become a full FBS member in 2015. The area also has two Division III programs, one in each subregion—the Virginia Wesleyan Marlins on the border of Virginia Beach and Norfolk, and the Christopher Newport University Captains in Newport News. The Captains sponsor fourteen sports and currently compete in the USA South Athletic Conference, but will move to the Capital Athletic Conference in July 2013.
The Hampton Coliseum, seating 10,761 ot 13,800 festival seating, hosts the annual Virginia Duals wrestling events, and the annual Hampton Jazz Festival. The arena opened in 1970 and has previously hosted Hampton University basketball along with NBA and NHL preseason exhibition games.
Virginia Beach serves as home to two soccer teams, the Hampton Roads Piranhas, a men's team in the USL Premier Development League, and a women's team by the same name in the W-League. The Piranhas play at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex. The Virginia Beach Sportsplex, seating 11,541 and opened in 1999, contains the central training site for the U.S. women's national field hockey team. The Sportsplex will be expanded to accommodate the Virginia Destroyers, an expansion franchise in the United Football League for the 2011 UFL season. The North American Sand Soccer Championships, a beach soccer tournament, is held annually on the beach in Virginia Beach.
Virginia Beach is also home to the East Coast Surfing Championships, an annual contest of more than 100 of the world's top professional surfers and an estimated 400 amateur surfers. This is North America's oldest surfing contest, and features combined cash prizes of $40,000.
Langley Speedway in Hampton, seating 6,500, hosts stock car races every weekend during Spring, Summer, and early Fall.
The Kingsmill Championship, an event on the LPGA Tour, is contested annually on Mother's Day weekend at Kingsmill Resort near Williamsburg.
The Norfolk Nighthawks were a charter member of the Arena Football League's minor league, af2. They ceased operations in 2003 after their fourth season. Also, the Virginia Beach Mariners of soccer's USL First Division were active from 1994 until 2006.
Hampton Roads has hosted many professional wrestling events throughout the years. The Norfolk Scope has served as the site of these events, including Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's Destination X, World Championship Wrestling's Starrcade and World War 3, and WWF/WWE's The Great American Bash and the 2011 Slammy Awards. Norfolk Scope was also the site of an infamous episode of WCW Monday Nitro, where several members of the World Wrestling Federation stable D-Generation X literally drove a tank to the entryway of the Scope, thus "invading" the competition. The Hampton Coliseum has also hosted many events, including RAW, in April 1998, August 2005, May 2007, January 2008, and July 2011, as well as SmackDown! and for ECW on Sci Fi on December 2006. In January 2008, WWE broadcast its first television show taped in high definition from Hampton, VA.
The Hampton Roads area is also home to at least one professional wrestling promotion, Vanguard Championship Wrestling, which holds events throughout the region, and has a weekly television show on the local Fox affiliate.
In 1997, Norfolk presented a proposal to bring an expansion hockey team to Hampton Roads. But that initiative failed. The team was going to be called the Hampton Roads Rhinos.
In 2002, Norfolk presented a proposal to bring the Charlotte Hornets basketball team to southeastern Virginia, but New Orleans won the bid for the team, renaming it the New Orleans Hornets.
In 2004, Norfolk presented a proposal to bring the Montreal Expos baseball team to the metro area, but Washington, D.C. won the bid for the team, renaming it the Washington Nationals.
In 1998, 2001, 2006, and 2010 Hampton Roads was hosting the AAU Junior Olympics.
In 2012, there were talks of the Sacramento Kings of the NBA moving to Virginia Beach.
Read more about this topic: Hampton Roads
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Famous quotes containing the word sports:
“Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
Thy sports are fled and all thy charms withdrawn;
Amidst thy bowers the tyrants hand is seen,
And desolation saddens all thy green;
One only master grasps the whole domain,
And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain;”
—Oliver Goldsmith (1730?1774)
“The whole idea of image is so confused. On the one hand, Madison Avenue is worried about the image of the players in a tennis tour. On the other hand, sports events are often sponsored by the makers of junk food, beer, and cigarettes. Whats the message when an athlete who works at keeping her body fit is sponsored by a sugar-filled snack that does more harm than good?”
—Martina Navratilova (b. 1956)
“There be some sports are painful, and their labor
Delight in them sets off. Some kinds of baseness
Are nobly undergone, and most poor matters
Point to rich ends.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)