William "Dick" Price Stadium - Norfolk State Spartans
Photos by Aaron Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
William "Dick" Price Stadium 700 Park Ave Norfolk, VA 23504
Year Opened: 1997 Capacity: 30,000
The highlight of most HBCU football games is seeing the bands perform, and at William ‘Dick’ Price Stadium in Norfolk, VA this is no different. Home of the green-and-gold Norfolk State Spartans, Dick Price Stadium opened in 1997 and has a capacity of 30,000 (although at present seats in the east end zone are not sold, so the capacity is much lower). The stadium was named after former athletic director, football, and track coach Dick Price, and features a great PA announcer and a good selection of food and beverage options.
Food & Beverage 3
At Dick Price Stadium you can find hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken wings, and hot wings, chicken tenders, fried fish pieces, and fried fish sandwiches, and even veggie wraps, as well as fries, pretzels, peanuts, packaged candy, and chips. Main dishes run from $4 to $7 with hamburgers being the cheapest and chicken wings/hot wings being the most expensive – the lack of hot dogs is surprising; you rarely see sports stadiums without those delicacies.
In addition to the food selections noted above, you can find Gatorade, bottled water, bottled soda, coffee, and hot cocoa for $2 to $3. While the prices are very reasonable and the selection is great, the downside is that concessions lines at Dick Price Stadium are very long, since most of the concessions windows are not open (I assume due to the crowd size, or could be lack of staff).
The two best things about attending a game at Dick Price Stadium are the PA announcer and the band – the PA announcer is great; he really gets the crowd fired up by encouraging fans to do the wave (you don’t see the wave much anymore, at least in this writer’s experience) and encouraging them to stomp their feet on the bleachers – this is a tradition at Dick Price Stadium, and really creates a lot of crowd noise. But the best thing the announcer does is getting fans to clap for opposing players after they get up from an injury, or getting them to clap for the refs – the PA announcer asks fans to applaud, and when they aren’t loud enough or enthusiastic enough, he fusses at them to make them do it better; this is great fun to see and participate in.
The second great thing about seeing a game at Dick Price Stadium is of course the Spartans marching band. The Norfolk State is pretty big, and these folks are continually moving; dancing and gyrating in the stands, waving their arms, and sashaying as they make their way down to the field for the halftime show – really a fun thing to witness. The halftime show is also pretty impressive, so make sure you stay in your seats for that.
Norfolk State’s campus is not in a great part of town – the area is a little industrial and even has a railroad track running right behind the stadium. The campus is a couple of miles from the hustle and bustle of downtown Norfolk, where you can find some pretty snazzy restaurants and shopping. While closer to the stadium you will find mainly quick service stops like Church’s Chicken or Bay Seafood, if you head toward Norfolk proper you can find more upscale choices such as 4 5 6 Fish and Istanbul Gyro & Kebab. Most of the hotels are closer to downtown as well, but there is a Budget Lodge closer to campus.
If you plan to be in town for the day or weekend, Nauticus is a maritime museum in Norfolk which is home to the Battleship Wisconsin – the ship served in WWII, the Korean War, and even during Desert Storm following a modernization effort, so that is a fun trip if you have the time. Another great option is the nearby Old Point Comfort Lighthouse, and there are also several historic homes in the area which you can visit.
Not a whole lot of fans come to Dick Price Stadium for the average NSU Spartans game, so the stands will feel pretty empty, especially at times on the visitor’s side, and as I mentioned earlier seats in the east end zone are not sold, so that whole area is blocked off. The fans that are there really get into it, though, and are pretty loud (helped in part by the aforementioned PA announcer), but you definitely won’t see many sellouts.
Getting to Norfolk for any reason is a tricky proposition – there are lots of bridges and tunnels to get over the water from the rivers and the bay, and these tend to get backed up a lot so the traffic can be heavy. Be sure to pay close attention to your directions or GPS so you don’t miss your exit; if you do you may have to loop back around to get back over/under the water to your destination.
Once you get to NSU, there is parking for $5 (at Shiloh Baptist church) right across the street from the campus’s main entrance on Park Avenue. However, that means a pretty long walk to the stadium across campus, so you are better off if you can find parking on the opposite end near the NSU Gate 8 entrance. The will-call booth (looks like a white trailer) is also on the Gate 8 side, so if you don’t have your tickets with you I would try to park on that end instead.
Once you get into the stadium there are plenty of bathrooms and plenty of room to move around; the only drawback is the aforementioned lines at the concession stands.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets to football games at Dick Price Stadium are $20 for general admission, but cheaper tickets are available for students and others connected to the university. Parking can be had very cheaply if you don’t mind the walk, and concessions are reasonable, so all in all, you can get a great experience at NSU football games for not a lot of dough.
In addition to the PA announcer and the band, there are a couple of other extras to mention at Dick Price Stadium – the mascot looks phenomenal in a bright yellow-and-green Romanesque costume, and the team comes onto the field thru a tunnel nestled in a cloud of green-and-white smoke, which is pretty cool to see. The cheerleaders also do a great job keeping the fans entertained, and the tailgating scene is bustling, with lots of great music blaring from loudspeakers outside the stadium.
If you are in the Norfolk area, or if your favorite team happens to be heading that way, I think you would have a great time attending an NSU Spartan football game – if you plan for the traffic and parking, you shouldn’t have any issues.