The Columbus Blue Jackets are a National Hockey League franchise that calls Columbus, Ohio home. There are no other major league sports teams operating in this moderately-sized Midwestern city. That fact makes the Blue Jackets one of the hottest tickets in town. They provide excitement and entertainment.
And they do it in a building that houses an arena where every seat has great sight lines and seems to be close to the players performing on the ice. The building is called Nationwide Arena and is named for Nationwide Insurance, the corporation that owns the naming rights.
Graphic via turnerconstruction
Opened just fifteen years ago on September 9, 2000, this cozy and comfortable facility currently has just one tenant, the Columbus Blue Jackets. Until recently, however, there was a second team playing its home games here. The Columbus Destroyers, a franchise in the Arena Football League (AFL), entertained fans for five years, from 2004 through 2008.
When the Blue Jackets play, capacity is eighteen thousand five hundred people. Basketball is played in this arena, too and when a game takes place as many as nineteen thousand five hundred fans can witness the action on the hardwood floor.
Of course, this arena also sells tickets for concerts, lots of tickets. A capacity crowd reaches all the way up to twenty thousand.
When Nationwide Arena was built, the total construction budget topped out at one hundred seventy five million dollars. Today, that cost in “2015 dollars” would be much more, as much as two hundred forty million dollars to be exact.
Interestingly and sadly, a Blue Jackets game on March 16, 2002 was the site of the only fan death in the long history of the National Hockey League. A thirteen year old girl was struck in the head by a deflected puck and died in the hospital just two days later.
A number of other sports are made available to fans in this Ohio city. They include Bull Riding (a rodeo-type event), Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) bouts, both men and women, the NCAA Men’s basketball Tournament known as “March Madness” and much, much more.
In fact, the PBR Built-Ford Tough Bull Riding Series has delighted enthusiastic crowds every year since 2000. The High School Hockey State Championship gives youngsters and those who come to watch them play a unique, “big league style” experience. And, for a change of pace, comedian Jeff Dunham played before a delighted, sold out crowd on his Controlled Chaos Tour.
Happily, there is one more feature that sets apart this arena from all others in the National Hockey League. It has a second, smaller ice rink in the arena called the “New Health Ice Haus. It is where the home team holds practices and where the public can enjoy the fun of a public skating rink.
That fan-friendly feature makes Nationwide Arena the place to go for fun, even when the Blue Jackets are on the road, in Columbus, Ohio.
That’s why it is one of the most popular entertainment venues in Columbus. It figures to stay that way in the years ahead.
Graphic via wikipedia