Nationwide Arena
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 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The venue is named for the arena's 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.

While the overall management responabilities of the arena fall with the Blue Jackets, 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 management contract had been signed with The Ohio State University. The contract calls 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 will make Nationwide Arena a sister venue to the on-campus Jerome Schottenstein Center. The university started booking acts in May 2010 and assumed day to day control of the arena on July 1, 2010.

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. 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 Dispatch IceHaus (formerly named the CoreComm IceHaus). 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 Penitentiary
Nationwide Arena was built at the site of the abandoned 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 . Some fans and employees who frequent Nationwide claim experiencing paranormal activities. Some Blue Jackets fans also blame supernatural beings both for the death of Brittanie Cecil and jokingly for unsuccessful seasons since the team's inception.

Notable events

  • 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 the first and second round games of the 2004 and 2007 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament were played there.
  • 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.
  • The arena has hosted many noteworthy MMA events including, IFC Caged Combat, UFC 68, UFC 82, UFC 96, WEC 47, and Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson.
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 124 which had 23,152 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.

  • It hosted the final World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) King of the Ring pay-per-view in 2002.
  • It hosted the last WWE Bad Blood in 2004.

  • Tim McGraw and Faith Hill - September 9-10, 2000 (Opening Nights, attended by 33,565 people), April 21-22, 2006 and July 18, 2007
  • KISS - September 29, 2000
  • Tina Turner - November 1, 2000
  • AC/DC - April 4, 2001, with Wide Mouth Mason
  • U2 - May 7, 2001
  • Prince & The New Power Generation - June 21, 2001
  • The Backstreet Boys - June 22, 2001
  • Janet Jackson - July 21, 2001
  • Britney Spears - November 1, 2001
  • Bob Dylan - November 10, 2001
  • 'N Sync - April 23, 2002
  • Cher - June 19, 2002
  • The Rolling Stones - October 20, 2002 and September 24, 2005
  • American Idol Live! - November 6, 2002, July 11, 2003 and July 27, 2010
  • Guns N' Roses - November 27, 2002
  • Bon Jovi - February 16, 2003
  • The Dixie Chicks - June 10, 2003
  • Slipknot - March 8, 2005, with Lamb of God and Shadows Fall
  • Aerosmith - November 20, 2005, with Lenny Kravitz
  • Tool - September 21, 2006, with Isis
  • The Gigantour - September 23, 2006
  • The Cheetah Girls - November 9, 2006, with Vanessa Hudgens and Jordan Pruitt and November 28, 2008, with Clique Girlz
  • Christina Aguilera - April 11, 2007
  • Genesis - September 22, 2007
  • Hannah Montana/ Miley Cyrus - December 11, 2007, with The Jonas Brothers
  • The Police - May 4, 2008, with Fiction Plane
  • The Jonas Brothers - August 23, 2008 and August 26, 2009, with Honor Society, Jordan Sparks and Wonder Girls
  • Nickelback - March 11, 2009, with Seether and Saving Abel and October 1, 2010, with Three Days Grace and Buckcherry
  • New Kids on the Block - April 3, 2009
  • Fleetwood Mac - April 18, 2009
  • Billy Joel - July 14, 2009
  • Pearl Jam - May 6, 2010, with The Band of Horses
  • Michael Bublé - June 30, 2010, with Naturally 7
  • The Uproar Festival - August 24, 2010
  • Rush - August 29, 2010

Other events
  • It hosted the general sessions of the 2007 National Catholic Youth Conference with over 20,000 youth in attendance.

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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