Nationwide Arena
The Nat
Location200 West Nationwide Boulevard
Columbus, OH 43215
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Broke groundMay 26, 1998[1]
OpenedSeptember 9, 2000
OwnerFranklin County Convention Facilities Authority
OperatorColumbus Arena Management
Construction cost$175 million
($223 million in 2020 dollars[2])
Architect360 Architecture (formerly Heinlein Schrock Stearns) & NBBJ
Project ManagerProject Management Consultants, LLC.[3]
Structural engineerThornton-Tomasetti Group Inc.[4]
Services engineerM*E Engineers[4]
General ContractorTurner/Barton Malow[4]/Miles-McClellan[4]
CapacityIce hockey: 18,144
Arena football: 17,171
Basketball: 19,500
Concert: 21,000
Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) (2000–present)
Columbus Destroyers (AFL) (2004–2008)
Ohio Junior Blue Jackets (USHL) (2006–2008)
Columbus Landsharks (NLL) (2001–2003)

Nationwide Arena is a multi-purpose arena, in Columbus, Ohio, USA. It opened in 2000 and is the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets, of the NHL.

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 former professional bodybuilder and Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In May 2012, Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman made a pitch to the NBA requesting an expansion or relocated team be moved to Nationwide Arena. [5]


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.

2012 SaleEdit

On February 21, 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. [6]


While the overall management responsibilities of the arena fell solely with the Blue Jackets 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.[7] 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.[8] This arrangement will made Nationwide Arena a sister venue to the on-campus Value City Arena. The university started booking acts in May 2010 and assumed day to day control of the arena on July 1, 2010.[9] As part of the arena purchase in 2012, the Blue Jackets and the university, along with Nationwide Insurance and the FCCFA, will form Columbus Arena Management (CAM). CAM will approve the arena's annual budget and will take over management of arena operations.[10]


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[11] 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 two such facilities in NHL (the other being the Prudential Center, home of the New Jersey Devils).

Former Ohio PenitentiaryEdit

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 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.[12] Some fans and employees who frequent Nationwide claim experiencing paranormal activities.[13]



It should also be noted that UFC 68 produced a number of attendance records for a mixed martial arts event. For starters, it was the first MMA event outside of 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 of Canada and Japan.



Other eventsEdit


ESPN The Magazine declared it “the No. 2 stadium experience in professional sports.”[17] 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!"[18]


External linksEdit

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Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Columbus Blue Jackets

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

Succeeded by

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