|Location||200 West Nationwide Boulevard
Columbus, Ohio 43215
|Owner||Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority|
|Operator||Columbus Arena Management (Columbus Blue Jackets, The Ohio State University, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, and Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority)|
|Capacity||Ice hockey: 18,500
|Field size||700,000 square feet (65,000 m2)|
|Broke ground||May 26, 1998|
|Opened||September 9, 2000|
|Construction cost||$175 million
($240 million in 2016 dollars)
|Architect||360 Architecture (formerly Heinlein Schrock Stearns) & NBBJ|
|Structural engineer||Thornton-Tomasetti Group Inc.|
|Services engineer||M*E Engineers|
|General contractor||Turner/Barton Malow|
|Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) (2000–present)
Columbus Landsharks (NLL) (2001–2003)
Columbus Destroyers (AFL) (2004–2008)
Ohio Junior Blue Jackets (USHL) (2006–2008)
It is one of three facilities in Columbus (along with Greater Columbus Convention Center and Franklin County Veterans Memorial Auditorium) that hosts events during the annual Arnold Classic, a sports and fitness event hosted by bodybuilder and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The venue is named for the arena's original majority owner, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, whose world headquarters are located across the street. Nationwide's real estate development affiliate, Nationwide Realty Investors, financed and developed the project—making it one of very few privately financed arenas in the nation.
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 loan 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.
While the Blue Jackets held sole operational control of the arena from 2000-2012, the team contracted day-to-day operational and event booking to venue management giant 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 The Ohio State University. 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. 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. As part of the 2012 sale of Nationwide Arena, the Blue Jackets and OSU joined with Nationwide Insurance and the FCCFA, will form Columbus Arena Management (CAM), which will operate both Nationwide Arena and Value City Arena and approve both arena's budgets.
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 State Capitol. Seating capacity is approximately 18,500 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, and ECHL.
The area surrounding Nationwide Arena, appropriately called the Arena District, houses bars, clubs and a movie theater. The Columbus Clippers, a AAA baseball team in the International League, play in the newly constructed Huntington Park nearby. Columbus uses the arena as a drawing point for the city with the other establishments feeding off of the foot traffic. The Lifestyle Communities Pavilion concert venue, and Arena Grand Theatre adjacent to the Nationwide Arena property, completes the entertainment complex.
Nationwide Arena houses a smaller ice rink called the OhioHealth IceHaus (formerly named the CoreComm IceHaus and Dispatch Ice Haus). This facility 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 makes Nationwide Arena the first NHL arena with an on-site practice facility and one of only three such facilities in NHL (the others being the First Niagara Center, home of the Buffalo Sabres and the Prudential Center, home of the New Jersey Devils).
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.
Former Ohio Penitentiary
Nationwide Arena was built at the site of the former Ohio Penitentiary. Although believed to be built over the prison, the arena is actually built over the prison's former parking lot. Nationwide's parking lot and an apartment complex is built where the prison formerly stood. Many prisoners were executed at the prison, and a fire on April 21, 1930 killed 322 prisoners locked in their cells.
- On October 7, 2000, the arena hosted the Columbus Blue Jackets' first game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Bruce Gardiner scored the franchise's first goal in the first period (which was also the first goal scored in the arena's history), but the Blackhawks won the game 5-3.
- The PBR's Built Ford Tough Series bull riding tour has held an event every year at Nationwide Arena since 2000 (prior to 2000 the event was held at the Ohio Expo Center Coliseum, and from 2000 to 2002 the BFTS was called the Bud Light Cup). It was the last event of the BFTS regular season (not counting the PBR World Finals) between 2000 and 2007.
- The arena hosted first and second round games of the 2004, 2007, 2012,and 2015 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournaments.
- The arena hosted the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
- On Tuesday, April 21, 2009, a record hockey crowd of 19,219 watched the Blue Jackets play their first postseason game at home, where they lost to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings by a final score of 4–1 in a Western Conference Quarterfinal game. They would eventually get their first postseason win at Nationwide Arena on April 23, 2014, against the Pittsburgh Penguins, by a final score of 4-3 in overtime.
- The arena has hosted many noteworthy MMA events including, Gracie Fighting Championships, International Fighting Championships, Caged Combat, UFC 68, UFC 82, UFC 96, WEC 47, Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson, and Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey.
- 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 129 which had 55,724 people in attendance. However, UFC 68 still holds the highest attendance for a MMA event in the United States with just over 19,000 people in attendance, along with the highest attendance for a MMA event outside Canada and Japan.
- The arena hosted the 2015 National Hockey League All-Star Game, having previously been set for the 2013 edition that was cancelled due to the lockout.
- The arena hosted the second and third round games of the 2012 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.
- The arena also hosts state championships for high school hockey.
- On June 14, 2015, the arena hosted the WWE pay-per-view Money in the Bank.
- The 2007 National Catholic Youth Conference
- The 2011 North American Youth Congress
- Jeff Dunham on Controlled Chaos Tour, December 24, 2011
- Barack Obama held a campaign rally on November 5, 2012 with Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z.
- From March 29, 2016 to April 3, 2016, The arena hosted a $1,000,000 international Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament.
ESPN The Magazine declared it “the No. 2 stadium experience in professional sports.” 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!"
- "2 Arenas in Columbus Boost Redevelopment". Toledo Blade. Associated Press. May 27, 1998. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
- "Nationwide Arena Facts and Figures". SportsBusiness Journal. October 2, 2000. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
- "Mayor Asks NBA to Consider Columbus". CBS Sports. May 11, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
- Caruso, Doug (March 30, 2012). "Taxpayers Now Own Nationwide Arena". The Columbus Dispatch.
- Pyle, Encarnacion; Joy, Kevin; Portzline, Aaron (May 12, 2010). "Deal Signed for OSU to Help Manage Nationwide Arena". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
- Jurich, Jami (May 16, 2010). "OSU to Manage Schott, Nationwide; Ticket Prices Likely to Fall". The Lantern (The Ohio State University). Retrieved May 16, 2010.
- "Nationwide Arena Quick Facts". Nationwide Arena. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- "Ohio Penitentiary Fire - Ohio History Central". Ohio History Central – A product of the Ohio Historical Society. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
- "Zetterberg Nets Two as Wings' Dominance Puts Jackets' Season on Brink". ESPN. Associated Press. April 21, 2009. Retrieved April 21, 2009.
- "Columbus gets 2015 All-Star Game". Espn.go.com. 2013-11-02. Retrieved 2014-01-09.
- "The 2013 NHL All-Star Game and NHL Skills Competition Refund Policy". The Columbus Blue Jackets Hockey Club. December 18, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
- "2012 NCAA Tournament Schedule". ESPN. February 27, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
- Johnson, Mike. "COMPLETE 2015 WWE PPV SCHEDULE". pwinsider.com. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
- "Tournament Info".
- "The Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets". HockeyArenas.com. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- "NHL Venue Rankings". The Sports Roadtrip. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nationwide Arena.|
|Home of the
Columbus Blue Jackets
2000 – present
|Host of the
NHL All-Star Game
American Airlines Center
|NCAA Women's Division I