Nationwide Arena Interior during a Blue Jackets game in 2007
Nationwide Arena is a large 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.
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.
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.
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.
While the Blue Jackets held sole operational control of the arena from 2000-2012, 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 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 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.
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, IIHF, and ECHL.
The area surrounding Nationwide Arena, 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 Express Live! concert venue, and Arena Grand Theatre adjacent to the Nationwide Arena property, completes the entertainment complex.
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 makes Nationwide Arena the first NHL arena with an on-site practice facility and one of only three such facilities in the NHL, along with KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York, and Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
On March 16, 2002, 14-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 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.
- 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 from 2000-2012 (Events prior to 2000 the event was held at the Ohio Expo Center Coliseum, there were no BFTS events in Columbus from 2013-2017 and in BFTS events since 2018 have been held at Value City Arena). 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 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 is scheduled to host the semi-finals and National Championship games of the 2018 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament.
- The arena has hosted multiple pre-season Ohio State University Buckeyes men's basketball and pre- and post-season Buckeyes men's ice hockey games when Value City Arena has been unavailable for use.
- The arena also hosts state championships for high school hockey.
MMA and Wrestling
- 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.
List of Concerts
- Tim McGraw - September 9-10, 2000, with Faith Hill (Opening nights, attended by 33,565 people); April 6, 2003, with The Dancehall Doctors; April 21-22, 2006 & July 18, 2007, with Faith Hill; April 23, 2010, with Lady Antebellum and Love and Theft; May 7, 2011, with Luke Bryan and The Band Perry
- KISS - September 29, 2000, with Ted Nugent and Skid Row
- Sarah Brightman - October 13, 2000
- The Barenaked Ladies - October 21, 2000, with Guster; December 30, 2001
- Tina Turner - November 1, 2000, with Joe Cocker
- Mannheim Steamroller - November 24, 2000
- The Gaither Homecoming - December 9, 2000; April 24, 2004; December 16, 2005; December 9, 2006; December 15, 2007; December 18, 2009
- WNCI 97.9's Jingle Ball - December 17, 2000; December 16, 2001
- Andy Williams - December 18, 2000
- Kid Rock & Twisted Brown Trucker - January 25, 2001, with Buckcherry and Fuel; March 23, 2013, with Buckcherry
- Neal McCoy - March 3, 2001
- AC/DC - April 4, 2001, with Sinomatic
- U2 - May 7, 2001, with PJ Harvey
- Eric Clapton - June 1, 2001, with Doyle Bramhall II & Smokestack; July 12, 2004, with Robert Randolph and the Family Band
- Prince & The New Power Generation - June 21, 2001, with The Fonky Bald Heads
- The Backstreet Boys - June 22, 2001, with Shaggy and Krystal Harris
- Janet Jackson - July 21, 2001, with 112
- Britney Spears - November 1, 2001, with O-Town; August 20, 2011, with Destinee & Paris and DJ Pauly D
- Bob Dylan - November 10, 2001
- Amy Grant & Vince Gill - December 11, 2001, with Nickel Creek, Rachael Lampa and The Nashville Symphony; December 21, 2003, with Henry Cho and The Nashville Chamber Orchestra
- Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - February 7, 2002; February 7, 2007
- NSYNC - April 23, 2002, with P. Diddy
- The Honda Civic Tour - June 5, 2002
- Def Leppard - June 14, 2002, June 14, 2003 and October 27, 2005, with Cheap Trick
- Cher - June 19, 2002 and April 30, 2014, with Cyndi Lauper
- A-Teens - August 8, 2002, with The Baha Men
- George Strait & The Ace in the Hole Band - September 27, 2002, with Jo Dee Messina; March 27, 2004, with Dierks Bentley and Kellie Coffey; February 17, 2007, with Ronnie Milsap and Taylor Swift; September 9, 2010, with Reba McEntire and Lee Ann Womack; February 15, 2014, with Little Big Town
- The SCREAM Tour - October 6, 2002
- The Rolling Stones - October 20, 2002, with The White Stripes; September 24, 2005, with Beck
- American Idol Live! - November 6, 2002, July 11, 2003 and July 27, 2010
- Peter Gabriel - November 8, 2002
- Nelly - November 23, 2002
- Guns N' Roses - November 25, 2002, with CKY and Mix Master Mike
- Martina McBride - November 29, 2002; December 15, 2006; February 1, 2008, with Jack Ingram and Lady Antebellum; February 21, 2010, with Trace Adkins and Sarah Buxton
- "A Royal Christmas" Concert - December 8, 2002
- Mark Wills - January 18, 2003
- Bon Jovi - February 16, 2003, with The Goo Goo Dolls, May 10, 2011; March 10, 2013
- Yanni - March 16, 2003; June 7, 2009
- Elton John - April 22, 2003, with Billy Joel; November 18, 2005
- Matchbox Twenty - May 25, 2003, with Sugar Ray and Maroon 5
- The Dixie Chicks - June 10, 2003, with Joan Osborne
- Mark Chesnutt - June 14, 2003, with Joe Diffie and Tracy Lawrence
- Roscoe - July 17, 2003, with VI
- The Blues Traveler - July 18, 2003, with Shurman
- Good Charlotte - September 27, 2003, with Something Corporate and The Living End
- Bette Midler - December 13, 2003
- Linkin Park - January 25, 2004, with P.O.D., Hoobastank and The Story of the Year; February 15, 2008, with Coheed and Cambria and Chiodos
- Incubus - July 10, 2004, with Sparta and The Vines
- Sarah McLachlan - August 28, 2004, with Butterfly Boucher
- Phil Collins - September 25, 2004
- Alan Jackson & The Strayhorns - September 30, 2004, with Martina McBride
- Barry Manilow - October 16, 2004, February 8, 2008; March 1, 2015, with Dave Koz
- The Wiggles - October 31, 2004 (two shows); August 18, 2005 (two shows); August 15, 2006 (two shows); August 14, 2007 (two shows); August 13, 2008
- Norah Jones - November 4, 2004, with Amos Lee
- Keith Urban - November 6, 2004, with Katrina Elam; October 5, 2005, with Miranda Lambert; August 14, 2009, with Jason Aldean; July 19, 2011, with Jake Owen
- The Trans-Siberian Orchestra - December 18, 2004; December 7, 2005; December 6, 2006; December 27, 2007 (2 shows); December 20, 2008 (2 shows); January 3 (2 shows) and December 28 (2 shows), 2010; December 18, 2011 (2 shows); December 30, 2012 (2 shows); December 26, 2013 (2 shows); December 28, 2014 (2 shows)
- Phil Vassar - January 8, 2005
- Slipknot - March 8, 2005, with Lamb of God and Shadows Fall
- Destiny's Child - August 13, 2005, with Mario
- Hilary Duff - August 24, 2005
- System of a Down - September 25, 2005, with The Mars Volta
- Aerosmith - November 20, 2005, with Lenny Kravitz; November 25, 2012, with Cheap Trick
- Trick Pony - January 21, 2006
- Delirium - February 17-18, 2006
- Tool - September 21, 2006, with Isis
- The Gigantour - September 23, 2006
- The Cheetah Girls - November 9, 2006, with Jordan Pruitt and Vanessa Hudgens; November 28, 2008, with Clique Girlz
- The Blue Man Group - November 16, 2006 and November 15, 2007
- Josh Groban - February 21, 2007
- John Mayer - February 23, 2007 and March 12, 2010, with Michael Franti & Spearhead
- Christina Aguilera - April 11, 2007, with The Pussycat Dolls and Danity Kane
- Yellowcard - June 22, 2007
- Genesis - September 22, 2007
- Maroon 5 - October 7, 2007, with The Hives; March 11, 2015, with MAGIC! and Rozzi Crane
- Brad Paisley & The Drama Kings - December 1, 2007, with Rodney Atkins and Taylor Swift; January 22, 2010, with Miranda Lambert and Justin Moore; October 5, 2012, with The Band Perry and Scotty McCreery
- Miley Cyrus - December 11, 2007, with The Jonas Brothers; October 7, 2009, with Metro Station
- Chris Brown - January 30, 2008, with Bow Wow and Soulja Boy; February 14, 2015, with Trey Songz and Tyga
- The Casting Crowns - March 6, 2008, with Leeland
- Hank Williams, Jr. - April 12, 2008, with Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special
- Michael Bublé - April 16, 2008; June 30, 2010, with Naturally 7
- Billy Joel - April 20, 2008; July 14, 2009, with Elton John
- Natalie Grant - April 25-26, 2008, with Sandi Patty; April 29, 2011
- The Police - May 4, 2008, with Fiction Plane and Elvis Costello & The Imposters
- Raven-Symoné - June 8, 2008, with B5
- The Jonas Brothers - August 23, 2008, with Demi Lovato; August 26, 2009, with Honor Society and The Wonder Girls
- The Steve Miller Band - November 15, 2008
- Toby Keith - January 31, 2009
- Nickelback - March 11, 2009, with Seether and Saving Abel; October 1, 2010, with Three Days Grace and Buckcherry; February 27, 2015, with The Pretty Reckless
- New Kids on the Block - April 3, 2009, with The Jabbawockeez
- Fleetwood Mac - April 18, 2009; April 4, 2013; October 19, 2014
- The Johann Strauss Orchestra - May 18, 2009
- Saltimbanco - August 12-13, 15-23, 2009
- Creed - September 2, 2009, with Staind and Like a Storm
- Styx - November 8, 2009, with REO Speedwagon and The Outlaws
- Steven Curtis Chapman - April 30 and May 1, 2010, with Mandisa
- Pearl Jam - May 6, 2010, with The Band of Horses
- Maxwell - July 9, 2010, with Melanie Fiona
- The Uproar Festival - August 24, 2010
- Rush - August 29, 2010; September 20, 2012; June 8, 2015
- Sugarland - September 23, 2010, with Little Big Town and Randy Montana
- Jason Aldean - February 26, 2011, with Eric Church and The JaneDear Girls
- Lil Wayne - March 18, 2011, with Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Travis Barker and Mix Master Mike
- Hawk Nelson - March 25-26, 2011, with Group 1 Crew and Britt Nicole
- The Zac Brown Band - May 26, 2011, with Blackberry Smke
- Taylor Swift - June 7, 2011, with Needtobreathe and Frankie Ballard; May 8, 2013, with Ed Sheeran and Florida Georgia Line; September 17-18, 2015 with Vance Joy
- Britney Spears - August 20, 2011
- Sammy Hagar & The Waboritas - September 17, 2011
- The Foo Fighters - September 22, 2011, with Rise Against and The Bronx
- Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band - November 4, 2011; January 29, 2015, with The J. Geils Band
- Andrea Bocelli - December 1, 2011, with Ana María Martínez and Heather Headley
- Rascal Flatts - January 21, 2012, with Sara Evans and Hunter Hayes; February 9, 2013, with The Band Perry
- Blake Shelton - February 17, 2012, with Justin Moore and Meg & Dia; September 20, 2013, with Easton Corbin and Jana Kramer
- Eric Church - April 26, 2012, with Brantley Gilbert and Blackberry Smoke
- LMFAO - May 22, 2012, with Far East Movement and Sidney Samson
- New Edition - May 23 and 25, 2012
- Miranda Lambert - June 14, 2012, with Chris Young and Jerrod Niemann; January 17, 2015, with Justin Moore, RaeLynn and Jukebox Mafia
- Big Time Rush - July 5, 2012, with Cody Simpson and Rachel Crow
- Journey - November 7, 2012, with Pat Benatar and Loverboy
- Quidam - December 6-9, 2012
- Tiësto - February 28, 2013, with Quintino and Tommy Trash
- The Mormon Tabernacle Choir - June 12, 2013
- One Direction - June 18, 2013, with 5 Seconds of Summer
- Justin Bieber - July 12, 2013, with Hot Chelle Rae and Mike Posner
- The SoundWave Summertime Concert - August 4, 2013
- Justin Timberlake - November 16, 2013, with DJ Freestyle
- Selena Gomez - November 23, 2013, with Emblem3 and Christina Grimmie
- Drake - December 13, 2013, with Miguel and Future
- The Eagles - March 5, 2014
- Demi Lovato - March 22, 2014, with Fifth Harmony, Little Mix and Cher Lloyd
- Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - April 15, 2014
- Katy Perry - August 13, 2014, with Ferras and Kacey Musgraves
- The Who - May 15, 2015, with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
- Paul McCartney - October 13, 2015
- Coldplay - July 28, 2016, with Foxes and Alessia Cara
- Ariana Grande - March 9, 2017, with Victoria Monét and Little Mix
- Twenty One Pilots - June 24, 2017, with Judah & the Lion and Public
- Ed Sheeran - September 27, 2017, with James Blunt
- Sam Smith - June 23, 2018
- 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, MLG Major Championship: Columbus.
- Impractical Jokers Santiago Sent Us Tour February 3, 2018
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!"
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