Nationwide Arena

Last updated
Nationwide Arena
Nationwide Arena Logo.svg
Columbus, OH - Nationwide Arena.jpg
Nationwide Arena in 2020
Nationwide Arena
Address200 West Nationwide Boulevard
Location Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Coordinates 39°58′9.42″N83°0′22.00″W / 39.9692833°N 83.0061111°W / 39.9692833; -83.0061111 Coordinates: 39°58′9.42″N83°0′22.00″W / 39.9692833°N 83.0061111°W / 39.9692833; -83.0061111
Public transitAiga bus trans.svg COTA alt logo.svg 3, 6, 8, 9, 72, 74
Ic directions bike 48px.svg CoGo
OwnerFranklin County Convention Facilities Authority
OperatorColumbus Arena Management
Capacity Basketball: 19,500
Concerts: 20,000
Ice hockey: 18,500
Construction
Broke groundMay 26, 1998 [1]
OpenedSeptember 9, 2000
Construction cost$175 million
($291 million in 2021 dollars [2] )
Architect
Project managerMiles-McClellan [3]
Structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti [3]
Services engineerM-E Engineers [3]
General contractor Turner Construction [3]
Main contractorsBarton Malow [3]
Tenants
Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) (2000–present)
Columbus Landsharks (NLL) (2001–2003)
Columbus Destroyers (AFL) (2004–2008, 2019)
Ohio Junior Blue Jackets (USHL) (2006–2008)
Columbus Wild Dogs (IFL) (in 2023)

Nationwide Arena is a multi-purpose arena in Columbus, Ohio, United States. Since completion in 2000, the arena has served as the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League (NHL). It is one of two facilities in Columbus, along with Greater Columbus Convention Center, that hosts events during the annual Arnold Classic, a sports and fitness event hosted by actor, bodybuilder, and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Contents

History

Nationwide Arena was built near the site of the former Ohio Penitentiary, which had an eastern border of West Street. The arena itself is built over the prison's former parking lot. The arena's parking lot and an apartment complex are built where the prison formerly stood. The arena was constructed in 2000.

On March 16, 2002, 13-year-old Brittanie Cecil was struck in the head by a deflected puck during the Blue Jackets' game against the Calgary Flames at Nationwide Arena. She died two days later, becoming the only NHL fan to be killed in a game-related accident. As a result of her death, the NHL mandated safety netting in all its arenas.

In May 2012, Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman made a pitch to the National Basketball Association (NBA) requesting an expansion or relocated team be moved to Nationwide Arena. [4]

Ownership

Arena bowl during a Blue Jackets game in 2007 NationwideArena.jpg
Arena bowl during a Blue Jackets game in 2007

The venue is named for the arena's original majority owner, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, whose world headquarters are located across the street. On March 30, 2012, arena owners Nationwide Insurance and the Dispatch Publishing Group sold the facility to the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority (FCCFA). As part of the sale, Nationwide agreed to lend the FCCFA $43.3 million to finance the arena's purchase which will be paid back by 2039 with casino tax revenue collected by both the City of Columbus and Franklin County. In addition, the Ohio Department of Development agreed to a 10-year, $10 million loan to the FCCFA to assist with the facilities purchase. If the Blue Jackets meet annual roster payroll requirement, $500,000 of this loan per year will be forgiven. Nationwide Insurance will also pay the Blue Jackets $28 million to retain the arena's naming rights until 2022 as well as $58 million to purchase 30% ownership stake in the franchise. The Blue Jackets, in turn, agreed to remain in the city until 2039 or pay $36 million in damages. [5]

Management

While the Blue Jackets held sole operational control of the arena from 2000 to 2012, the team contracted day-to-day operations and event booking to venue management corporation SMG from the arena's opening until June 30, 2010. On May 12, 2010, the Blue Jackets announced that SMG would not be retained as arena managers and further announced that a one-year, annually renewable, management contract had been signed with Ohio State University. [6] The contract called for the university to take over both day to day arena operations as well as booking non-athletic events, with the Blue Jackets booking athletic events and maintaining overall control of the arena. [7] This arrangement made Nationwide Arena a sister venue to OSU's on-campus arena, Value City Arena. The university started booking acts in May 2010 and assumed day to day control of the arena on July 1, 2010. [6] As part of the 2012 sale of Nationwide Arena, the Blue Jackets and OSU joined with Nationwide Insurance and the FCCFA to form Columbus Arena Management (CAM). Columbus Arena Management currently operates both Nationwide Arena and Value City Arena and oversees budgeting and event booking at both arenas. [5]

Design

The arena is of a brick design and serves as the center of an entertainment district located about one-half of a mile north of the Ohio Statehouse. Seating capacity is approximately 18,500 [8] for hockey, 17,171 for arena football, 19,500 for basketball, and up to 21,000 for concerts. The death of Brittanie Cecil from injuries sustained from a hockey puck flying into the stands at a Blue Jackets game on March 16, 2002 led to the installation of nylon netting to catch pucks that fly over the acrylic glass at all professional ice hockey arenas in the NHL, AHL, IIHF, and ECHL.

Location

The area surrounding Nationwide Arena, called the Arena District, is a mixed-use neighborhood developed by Nationwide Realty Investors featuring restaurants, bars, offices and residential buildings. The Columbus Clippers, a Triple-A baseball team of the International League, play in Huntington Park, also located in the Arena District and developed by Nationwide Realty Investors. Columbus uses the arena as a drawing point for the city with the other establishments feeding off of the foot traffic. The Express Live! concert venue adjacent to the Nationwide Arena property, completes the entertainment complex.

Facilities

Blue Jackets locker room Blue Jackets Locker.jpg
Blue Jackets locker room

Nationwide Arena includes a smaller ice rink called the OhioHealth IceHaus, which serves as the practice rink for the Blue Jackets and is also used for youth hockey games and open skating times for the public. This facility made Nationwide Arena the first NHL arena with an on-site practice facility and, as of 2019, one of only four such facilities in the NHL, along with KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York, Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey and Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.

Events

Sports

Mixed martial arts

UFC 68 produced a number of attendance records for a mixed martial arts event. It was the first MMA event outside Japan to have at least 15,000 people in attendance. This record has since been outdone on a number of occasions, with the current holder being UFC 193 which had 56,214 people in attendance.

Professional wrestling

Concerts

List of concerts

Other events

Reception

ESPN The Magazine declared it “the No. 2 stadium experience in professional sports.” [25] The Ultimate Sports Road Trip rated it the best arena in the NHL saying "This newer arena in downtown Columbus is the anchor for the emerging Arena District, already burgeoning with shops, restaurants and hotels. The venue is spectacular, from its nostalgic brick and stone veneer to its sweeping concourses with blue mood lighting and modern amenities. The arena bowl has state of the art scoreboards and surround LED graphics boards which look 21st century high tech. With a separate practice rink built right in the facility, theme restaurants and great food selection, not to mention a raucous hockey atmosphere, this NHL venue is a must see!" [26]

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Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Columbus Blue Jackets

2000–present
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by Host of the
NHL All-Star Game

2015
Succeeded by
Preceded by NCAA Women's Division I
Basketball Tournament
Finals Venue

2018
Succeeded by