• Search by team or stadium name:

Buy the latest issue of Stadium Journey Magazine - Subscribe Today!

Stadium Journey Sports Magazine Subscriptions

Foreman Field at S. B. Ballard Stadium

Norfolk, VA

Home of the Old Dominion Monarchs

3.7

N/A

Foreman Field at S. B. Ballard Stadium (map it)
5115 Hampton Blvd
Norfolk, VA 23529


Old Dominion Monarchs website

Foreman Field at S. B. Ballard Stadium website

Year Opened: 1935

Capacity: 20,118

There are no tickets available at this time.

Reviews

Local Information

Share
this

The Monarchs' Throne

For a program that has played less than ten years of college football, Old Dominion University has set the bar high for the schools in the Hampton Roads area. Playing their home games at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium, the Monarchs have become the hot ticket in town in a short amount of time.

Playing in a stadium that opened in 1936 as the home to the Norfolk Division of William & Mary (ODU’s original name) football team for six years, the stadium underwent a $25 million renovation in order to open for the inaugural season of the ODU Monarchs in 2009. Playing as an independent in the FCS for two seasons, the Monarchs moved to the CAA in 2011 and recently moved up to the FBS for the 2013 season. Again an independent, ODU will play in C-USA beginning in 2014.

Selling out every home game during their existence, Old Dominion was in the top ten of attendance in the FCS every year. Even though the stadium went through a major renovation recently, it is still somewhat antiquated and not up to par with most FBS stadiums. Plans are in the works to build a new stadium across campus with modern amenities and a larger capacity, which no doubt will please those that have a hard time getting a ticket to Norfolk’s most popular team.

3.7

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

If you are not fortunate enough to be able to tailgate and eat to your heart's content before the game, don't worry, because you are in for a treat once you get inside the stadium. While there are permanent concession stands located on the east and west sides of the stadium, these do not need to be your destination unless you just want the same old variety you could pick up at a fast food joint beforehand. Hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, sodas - they are all there, albeit a little bit pricey compared to what else is offered.

As you start your journey for food, note the food trucks and vendors on the outside of the concourse. Walking around the west side of the stadium, you will be on sensory overload from the smell and sight of the offerings you will come across. It starts with hamburgers being grilled fresh to order underneath a tent, then you will find Bro's Fish Tacos - this needs to be where you get your main dish. I had the ahi tuna taco with habanero sauce, and it was awesome! At $6.50 for one or $12 for two, you will find good value here. If fish isn't your thing, move on to Malbon's BBQ, which offers pork or beef brisket sandwiches, tacos and nachos at around $10 each. No matter where you eat, you have to get a side of hand-cut ribbon fries here, loaded with jack cheese and jalapenos. You will also find a soft pretzel stand where the vendor is grilling them on a charcoal rack, a much better option than the heat lamp you will find at the concession stand. There is also a pizza vendor, but at $5 a slice I found more value in the food trucks. Pepsi products are available throughout the stadium and are $3.50 for a 20-ounce bottle.

To wrap up your food experience, you will find Flamingo Joe's, providing funnel cakes, cotton candy and sno-cones. The best treat I found was the kettle corn stand - for $4.00 ($6.50 for a large), you can get a fresh bag of caramel corn. They also have regular, but the caramel will take care of your sweet tooth.

Overall, there is much more variety than I expected in the food category. Some of the vendors take credit cards, but I would recommend bringing cash. If you forget, there is an ATM machine located behind section 120.

Atmosphere    4

As you approach Foreman Field on gameday, you may believe you have walked into a gigantic outdoor party. You will find the south parking lot full of tailgaters enjoying their pregame festivities and getting ready for the afternoon's action. Entering through the gate, you will not notice anything special about the brick facade that surround the stadium. As you enter the seating area, the first thing you will notice is the south end zone structure that houses the loge section and the suites. It has a unique look, and was part of the renovation before the Monarchs started playing at Foreman Field; however, it almost looks out of place in the older stadium. The next thing that may catch your eye is the clamshell shape of the sideline stands, a stark contrast to the rectangular shape of the north end zone seats. If possible, I would recommend sitting in sections 103-105, as this is the home side, and they will give you the best view of the field and the giant scoreboard located in the northeast corner of the stadium, which you can not see from the north end zone seats. Also, this is on the west side of the stadium, so the sun will be at your back later in the day. Students (including the marching band) sit in sections 112-115, and you will typically find the visitors in sections 109 and 110.

No matter where you sit, you will notice a beautiful AstroTurf field. Unlike other stadiums in the Hampton Roads area, there is not a track between the stands and the playing field so you are closer to the action. The band does a good job of keeping energy in the crowd without trying to overtake the action on the field and you are able to hear the PA announcer clearly no matter where you are sitting in the stadium.

You will find plenty of blue jacket-clad ushers at Foreman Field who keep fans moving through the main seating area and don't let you linger too long where you are not supposed to be. While I understand they have a job to do, I did not find many of them to be friendly or welcoming, as compared to the gate attendants and food vendors, and it took a little away from the overall atmosphere.

Neighborhood    3

ODU is located in the northern part of Norfolk, and other than going to the football game and taking a walk around campus, I did not find anything really interesting to do within walking distance. If you are coming from out of town, there is a SpringHill Suites by Marriott on Hampton Boulevard a few blocks from the stadium, and this would be a perfect place to stay if this is your only reason to be in town.

Why three stars, then? While there is not much in the immediate area, there is plenty of history in the Hampton Roads area to visit, including Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown, about a hour away. If you're on an extended visit to the area, these are great places to visit for the entire family. If you are in the area in the early fall, Virginia Beach is also very close by, and you can find some great hotel deals after the summer season.

Fans    5

ODU has sold out every game of their existence - enough said! Attending an ODU game feels like a special event, and the fans create that environment. Walking around the tailgate parking lots pregame, you get a sense of excitement and camaraderie from both young and old. A majority of the fans are decked out in the blue or silver of the home team, and are in their seats for the opening kickoff. While the PA announcer keeps the fans informed of first downs by the offense and third downs for the defense, the crowd would do just fine without him. You can feel a real sense of pride in the team, and it is more enjoyable as a spectator to be with these types of fans.

Access    4

Foreman Field is located on the north side of campus in Norfolk. As you head toward the field, you will see plenty of lots named with different colors. Unless you have a pass, these are not for you. If you are coming for a game for the first time and are not familiar with the area, the best place to park is the five-story garage on the corner of Hampton Boulevard and 43rd Street, south of the stadium. It is right across the street from the Convocation Center, and is at most a ten-minute walk. Parking is free, and getting in and out is pretty simple. There is another free garage between 45th and 46th off of Hampton Boulevard, but that one typically fills up quickly.

Once at the stadium, you can enter through any gate to get to your seat. Your tickets are scanned in as you enter, and the lines move quickly. On the way to your seat, the concourse around the outside of the seating bowl is very wide, and never seems overcrowded.

Restrooms are located on the east and west sides of the stadium next to the permanent concession stands. They are small and unable to accommodate the sellout crowds, so you will find portable stations all around the concourse. Even with the additional facilities, you will run into lines during the normally busy times, like halftime.

Return on Investment    4

If you don't have a friend or other connection to access ODU football tickets, expect to pay a premium over face value, depending on the opponent. As every game is sold out, you can't just walk up to the window on gameday and buy a ticket like most schools in the area. The 'independent brokers' that you normally find surrounding the stadium at sporting events are either non-existent or invisible, as i did not notice any selling tickets. Your best bet is to go through online channels and look for something in your price range of what you are willing to pay for a football game. In my opinion, paying a little extra for the atmosphere at Foreman Field is worth it. For the game I attended (against an FCS opponent), end zone tickets were available for $35 the day before the game, but they were gone by that evening.

Free parking is a plus, and while the standard concession stands are a little pricey, the food trucks and other vendors are fairly priced for the food they offer.

If you look at your total dollar investment, an afternoon at an ODU game will cost you more than most game-day experiences in the area, but it is a good investment of your entertainment budget.

Extras    2

Another point here for the fans - there is no doubt their dedication and support from the beginning has been instrumental in propelling this program into the FBS.

Kudos to ODU for partnering with local independent businesses for the fans' concession needs.

Final Thoughts

Based on the passion of the fan base, you would think the Monarchs have a long history of football tradition. With the school entering C-USA play, it will enhance the national exposure of the University and continue to grow this young football program. If you are in the area during football season, make an effort to get to Foreman Field and enjoy a great football experience.

You must be a Stadium Journey member to post a comment.

Already a member? Sign in or Create a Stadium Journey Account

-- OR --

Crowd Reviews

Share your thoughts about Foreman Field at S. B. Ballard Stadium

Local Food & Drink

Local Entertainment

Lodging

SpringHill Suites Norfolk Old Dominion University  (map it!)

4500 Hampton Blvd

Norfolk, VA 23508

(757) 423-4100

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/orfod-springhill-suites-norfolk-old-dominion-university/

w

© 2017 Stadium Journey