Saturday, July 31, 2010
Columbus's Arena Problem?
On the way to the Clippers game the other day, my father brought up an interesting point as I confirmed that Huntington Park was indeed in the Arena District in Downtown Columbus. He said that it was totally unnecessary for Columbus to have two separate arenas, Nationwide for the Columbus Blue Jackets ice hockey team, and Value City Arena for the Ohio State men's and women's basketball teams. I explained to him that the reason this was so was that even though the state owned Value City Arena, Nationwide Arena was privately owned(I thought by the McConnell family, turns out it is actually owned by Nationwide Insurance, they did not just lend the name.) However, is it really necessary for Columbus to have two distinct arenas, even if they are owned by two separate groups? Columbus is no more than a mid major city, and even in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Clippers share the Staples center with the Lakers. Surely the Blue Jackets do not sell out more than the Lakers do, and even though Nationwide Arena holds events during the ice hockey offseason it is fair to say that for more than 200 (maybe 250) days per year the arena is empty. Value City Arena, on the other hand, sells out far less, and I hate to say it, but it might not sell out at all during women's home games. In some instances its operating costs might exceed the revenue it brings in. But that only brings us back to the issue of ownership. While the Schott(as it is also known) was built on taxpayer dollars for use by Ohio State, Nationwide Arena primarily serves Columbus only professional franchise. But isn't there a way Nationwide could host both Blue Jacket and Ohio State games? I think the answer is yes, and the state of Ohio could tear down Value City Arena and give the taxpayers some of their money back. Until that happens though, Columbus will forever be known as the only city in America not large enough for two professional sports franchises but apparently large enough for two indoor sporting arenas. What a dubious distinction.