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Norfolk Scope

Norfolk, VA

Home of the Norfolk Admirals



Norfolk Scope (map it)
201 E. Brambleton Ave
Norfolk, VA 23510

Norfolk Admirals website

Norfolk Scope website

Year Opened: 1971

Capacity: 11,000

There are no tickets available at this time.


Local Information


Scoping Out the Admirals

Scope Arena is an 11,000-seat venue located next to a 2,500-seat theater named Chrysler Hall - together the complex is known as Norfolk Scope, which also includes a 600-car underground parking garage. The arena is used for ice hockey, concerts, and basketball tournaments. The venue is notable for its unique construction, consisting of the world's largest reinforced thinshell concrete dome. The arena is currently home to the Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL, an affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers.


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    5

Scope Arena has a surprisingly wide variety of food and beverage choices for such a small venue - there are concession stands all around the arena on both the left and right sides of the circular "hallway," which really helps with the traffic flow. Fans can enjoy regular and foot-long hot dogs, polish and specialty sausage, Ynot pizza and stromboli, chicken tenders, barbecue sandwiches, loaded nachos, burritos, chili, brisket sandwiches, pulled pork, cheeseburgers, and Philly cheese steak; these items range from $3.50 to $10, with the larger items including a side such as fries.

In addition to the above, the venue also provides a number of snack and dessert-type items, such as peanuts, candy, pretzels, snow cones, fries, popcorn, Dippin' Dots, cotton candy, and funnel cakes - these items cost between $3.50 and $6.

Scope Arena also provides plenty of drink options, including coffee and hot cocoa, bottled water, soda, and fresh-squeezed lemonade. Alcohol starts at $8, and includes a wide range of brands in bottles, cans, or on tap, and even specialty items, such as hard lemonade.

Atmosphere    3

Scope Arena has amazing architecture and is well-designed, but it is also dated and not well-attended for hockey games. Most of the seats are the kind you see in movie theaters, namely the metal fold-down style with cushions. The best seats in the house are the leather couches and chairs right next to the glass near mid-rink. Most of the seats do not have cup holders - the ones that do have a wooden plank that fits over the metal arm rest; it is possible when the venue was built all of the seats had these, but most have broken off over time.

The staff does do a great job with special events, however. For example, they hold frequent Chuck-a-Pucks as fundraisers for the team, where fans can buy pucks and toss them onto the ice during intermission - fans who make it closest to the bullseye win prizes, and they bring in mascots from local teams, such as the Old Dominion Monarchs and Norfolk Tides, as well as fan favorites like Ronald McDonald, to help pick up the pucks and interact with fans during the activity. Players also sign autographs during intermission, and the staff also does interesting things like color the ice green for St. Patrick's Day games. See a video of the green ice and the Chuck-a-Puck activity here:

Neighborhood    5

If you have time before or after the game, or want to stay for the weekend, Norfolk offers plenty to see and do. There are numerous museums and historic sites, such as the Battleship Wisconsin, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the naval station, botanical gardens, and the MacArthur Center and Memorial. You can also see a show at Chrysler Hall or Robin Hixon Theater, which are both right next to Scope Arena.

There are plenty of great places to eat in Norfolk, and of course I recommend seafood of any stripe, since you are right on the water and it will be fresh. But if you are looking for a sports bar, there are two next to Scope Arena - AJ Gators and Buffalo Wild Wings, which are both on Monticello Avenue.

Fans    2

At a typical game, the Admirals may only draw a few thousand fans, making the venue about half-full at most, and usually much less. Most of the fans do not wear Admirals gear, although some die-hard fans do show up wearing jerseys from other hockey teams.

The crowd is only mildly attentive while the puck is in play, and doesn't ever get very loud, except of course when the Admirals score a goal. In fact, only during activities such as the Chuck-a-Puck is there a lot of energy from the fans, almost as if most come for the extras and not the hockey itself.

Access    3

Norfolk is easy enough to get to with several major freeways coming into town, but you will have to deal with the many bridges and tunnels.

Parking is a bit of a hassle, since you have to use one of the garages (either the one attached to the complex, or the one on Charlotte Street or Bank Street, all of which may fill up if you don't get there early).

Be sure to bring your tickets with you if possible - not only will it be cheaper, but the box office is on the basement level, and there aren't very good signs directing fans to it, so it is a little difficult to find. But if you have your tickets already, you can enter the arena much faster by using one of the entrances on the upper level - there are entrances all around the circular dome.

On the plus side, once you get inside Scope Arena, there are black pillars all around the rink that show the section numbers, making it really easy to find your seat. There are also plenty of bathrooms.

Return on Investment    3

When they aren't running a special, the cheapest tickets are $17 at the door, but you can save $3.50 if you buy in advance. Parking is only $5, but concession prices tend to be on the high side for most items (akin to other pro venues). I guess it depends on how much you like hockey - there are plenty of other sporting events in town, such as the Norfolk Tides or college games at ODU or Norfolk State, which would be more fun for the money, but if you happen to love hockey, this is really your only option.

Extras    2

Two points for the architecture and the fountain - Scope Arena is designed to be elegant as well as functional, and blends perfectly with its surroundings, unlike the typical gaudy sports arena that is plopped down in the middle of town nowadays that sticks out like a sore thumb. The lampposts outside the arena are also pretty cool, with a central stalk and multiple branches to hold additional globes.

Final Thoughts

Scope Arena's architecture is worth seeing, but you can do that any time by just driving by or taking a stroll through the area. Norfolk is also worth a visit if you have never been, but I'm not sure I would recommend the hockey here - if you want to see the venue, maybe save it for a concert or other special event.


Just to set the record straight, the move to the west by the AHL was not a reflection on the fan support (or lack thereof) by any of the cities affected, including Norfolk.

by source94 | Jun 09, 2015 08:47 AM

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Crowd Reviews

Sweet Times at the Scope

Total Score: 3.57

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 2

To appreciate how much the Scope doesn't smell like the inside of a well-used hockey skate these days, you'd have to be one of the thousands who flocked to the place back when it housed the ECHL's Hampton Roads Admirals.

Built smack-dab in the middle of downtown Norfolk in 1971, and used for everything from concerts to boxing matches, the Scope's main attraction for the past several years has been minor league hockey. While two indoor football teams - the Norfolk Knights and Nighthawks - have come and gone, the Admirals have ridden out three different NHL affiliations by consistently filling most of the 8,725 seats available for their games.

Though a clear notch below "Hockeytown" status, the city of Norfolk - recently reorganized under the "Seven Venues" brand for local events - does enough right with its arena to make an evening spent at the game worth your while. The smell is just the beginning.

Classic Arena with a new modern feel.

Total Score: 3.71

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 4
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

The Scope has been the home to the AHL's Norfolk Admirals since there inception in 2000. It has gone through many changes in the past 12 seasons. For one the scoreboard used to be a small pixelized screen, which was replaced 3 years ago by a larger LED screen scoreboard along with 2 screens behind each goal. The seats which are a dark maroon color used to be a bright navy blue back in the day as well.
The Scope does have a distinct smell, but its nothing too ba that will distract from enjoying a great game of hockey.

Dome of the Admirals

Total Score: 2.86

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 2
  • Neighborhood: 5
  • Fans: 2
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 1
  • Extras: 2

Scope Arena is part of Norfolk Scope, a three-part entertainment and convention complex that includes the arena, a 2,500-seat theater named Chrysler Hall, and a 600-car underground parking garage. The arena is used for many types of events, but mainly ice hockey, and there are even plaques displaying the names of notable former players on the walls inside (check out the video).

Currently home to the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL, starting in 2015-16, the arena will instead host the ECHL Admirals, and not because the franchise is moving back to that league – instead, the change is due to a three-city deal in which the current Admirals are moving to San Diego to become the Gulls (staying in the AHL), while the ECHL Bakersfield Condors are moving to Norfolk to become the new Admirals.

Share your thoughts about Norfolk Scope

Local Food & Drink

Freemason Abbey  (map it!)

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(757) 622-3966


Baxter's Sports Lounge  (map it!)

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AJ Gators Sports Bar & Grill  (map it!)

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Buffalo Wild Wings  (map it!)

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Local Entertainment

MacArthur Center  (map it!)

300 Monticello Ave

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Chrysler Hall  (map it!)

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(757) 671-8100


Chrysler Museum of Art  (map it!)

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