Nationwide Arena – Columbus Blue Jackets

by | Nov 2, 2017 | Hockey, Lloyd Brown, NHL | 0 comments

Fanfare Score

Total Score
3.71

Crowd Score

Total Score
4.29

 

Your Guide to Nationwide

Nationwide Arena opened in 2000 as the home of the NHL expansion Columbus Blue Jackets. It is one of the few privately financed and developed sports arenas in the country. Nationwide Insurance headquarters is located next door to the arena, and its real estate division provided the funding of the arena. While it does not own the Blue Jackets, it does hold permanent naming rights to the arena.

The arena has been recognized as one of the best designed arenas in the NHL, as it has open lobbies and wide concourse that allow you to see the action from anywhere in the facility. It has a capacity of 18,500 for hockey and offers 16 Founder Suites, 36 Executive Suites, 26 loge boxes and 39 club Level Terrace Tables. Its’ most recent additions are an upgraded LED scoreboard/videoboard at center ice and ribbon boards that go 360 degrees around the arena.

The origin of the Blue Jacket moniker for the hockey team is not related to a rare insect. The name was selected to recognize the important role that Columbus and Ohio played for the Union in the Civil War. Ohio provided the largest number of men to serve in the Union Army and was home to prominent Union General William T. Sherman. The team’s uniforms are predominately blue to match the uniforms worn by the Union Army. Its alternate uniforms even feature a Civil War Cannon on the front. Visitors to the Nationwide Arena need to be aware that a cannon is on-site in the arena and is fired: 1) when the Blue Jackets take the ice 2) the Blue Jackets score 3) the Blue Jackets win a game. Knowing this will prevent you from spilling your drink or throwing your food up in the air when the cannon goes off.

The Nationwide Arena is busy throughout the year. When the Blue Jackets are on the road or the hockey season is over, you can find such varied events as PBR rodeos, gymnastics competitions, ice shows and NCAA regional basketball tournaments taking place. The arena is a major concert venue for the area, hosting such performers as Coldplay, Taylor Swift, Sting, Paul McCartney and AC/DC. Columbus hosted the NHL All Star game in 2015.

Food & Beverage 3

The food and beverage offerings are above average at Nationwide Arena.

Concession stands are plentiful with locations on each level of the arena. The standard stands offer such foods as hot dogs ($5), popcorn ($5), burgers ($7), pork, chicken or steak sandwiches ($13) and nachos ($8). There are also product specific stands which sell Popa John’s pizza ($8), Tim Hortons bakery goods ($1.50 for a donut) and Stone Cold Creamery ice cream ($5).

On the beverage side of concessions, Pepsi brand sodas are $4.50, bottled water is $4.75, while coffee, cappuccino and hot chocolate are all $3.00. Adult beverages are priced as follows large draft beers are $9.50, premium drafts are $13.00, premium bottled beers are $9.00, mixed drinks are $9.00 and wine by the glass is $8.50.

In addition to its food and beverage offerings there are several Ohio Blue Line team spirit stands and a permanent store selling a wide variety of Blue Jacket merchandise.                                                                                                   

Atmosphere 3

The Blue Jackets just recently celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the franchise and each season the team seems to create a more enthusiastic way to promote the team.  There is a heavy emphasis on the red, white and blue colors worn by the team, which is incorporated in multiple areas of the arena as well. Each season brings a new theme for the season and is incorporated into cheers, posters and all social media.

One of the most popular elements in the arena is the civil war cannon just inside the front doors. The team uses it as a very effective photo prop, as lines form well before the game with fans wanting their picture with it. It also sets the crowds into a frenzy when it is fired after a Blue Jackets goal or after a victorious game.

The team is very involved in the community, with virtually every game saluting a local civic organization or charity. Since Columbus is the state capitol, many statewide organizations are based in the area, and they appreciate the awareness that the team creates for their cause.                                                                                                                     

Neighborhood 5

The Arena District provides a much higher than average experience for both pre-and post-game activities.

The Nationwide Arena serves as the anchor for a 75 acre section of downtown Columbus known as the Arena District. This area is filled with restaurants, nightclubs, sports facilities and concert halls. A majority of these entertainment facilities are within a few blocks of the Nationwide Arena.

You will be able to find a restaurant to suit any palate in the areas of Front Street and Nationwide Boulevard. Among the favorites are Rodizio Grill and NADA.Gordon Biersch Brewery and R Bar are great choices for a before or after game drink. R Bar has been ranked as one of the top 20 Hockey Bars in the country. They even have a TV that looks like the center ice scoreboard to watch the highlights on!

Sports fans may be able to catch a late season Columbus Clippers game in conjunction with a Blue Jackets pre-season game. Huntington Park is just two blocks from the Nationwide Arena and is considered one of the best AAA parks in the country.

There are several hotels within the Arena District. For price and quality accommodations the Crowne Plaza Hotel and the Hyatt Regency Arena are hard to beat.

Columbus is the capitol of Ohio and has many attractions outside of the Arena District. These include the State Capital building and the German Village District.

Fans 4

The Blue Jacket fans are one of the most loyal fan bases in the NHL. They have stuck with the Blue Jackets through thick and thin, as the team has made it to the Stanley Cup playoffs only twice in its history, losing both times in the first round.  

The fans in Columbus take great pride in having the only NHL-level team in the state, as the city is much smaller than other cities such as Cleveland and Cincinnati and Toledo, which have only ECHL or AHL level teams. They also are very knowledgeable about the game, as hockey starts early in Ohio, beginning with youth leagues and progressing through high school and college teams.

The Blue Jacket faithful are not hard to identify, as they must lead the NHL in percentage if fans wearing their team jerseys to games. They also get fired up before arriving at Nationwide Arena, as bars and restaurants in the Arena District are filled with fans hours before the games.                                                                                                               

Access 4

Nationwide Arena offers a wide variety of routes and transportation modalities to get to a Blue Jackets game.

Nationwide Arena is easily accessed by any number of transportation modes. If you are driving, the arena can easily be accessed via I – 70 (4th Street exit) or I- 71 (Front Street exit). Once off the expressway, there are more than 15,000 parking spaces within the Arena District. Both CBUS AND COTA offer bus stops immediately in front of the arena. Guests in area hotels can easily walk to the facility and in season, it is possible to bike to a game (more on that later) Both Lyft and Uber are also heavily utilized by Blue Jacket fans.                                                                                        

Return on Investment 3

Like NFL football, there are no cheap seats in the NHL. You can usually buy tickets at face value at Nationwide Arena, with prices ranging from $52 to $145. Parking at the arena parking garage is $15, but off-site parking lots vary greatly in price. CBUS and COTA costs in the vicinity of $1.50 each way. The hotels in the Arena District range from $100-$300 a night. It is wise to check the Ohio State University sports calendar when making your plans. Home football games drive up lodging prices dramatically.   

Extras 4

There are several unique extras related to Nationwide Arena:

The Nationwide Arena was the first NHL Arena to have its practice facility under the same roof. When the Blue Jackets are out of town the Ice Haus is made available for youth hockey groups, open skates for the public and skating competitions.

Cycling fans can bike their way to the Nationwide Arena. Both the Olentangy River Greenway Trail and the Scioto Trails bring you within a few blocks of the arena. There are two CoGo bike share stations at the arena (www.cogobikeshare.com)

One tragic legacy of the Nationwide Arena is the only fan fatality to occur at an NHL arena. As a teenager was struck in the head by a deflected puck. As a result, all NHL arenas and many stadiums in other sports have protective netting in place in areas with a high likelihood of a puck, ball or bat flying into the stands.

There is a very nice salute to high school hockey featuring the jerseys from schools throughout the state.

Final Thoughts

There are several unique extras related to Nationwide Arena:

The Nationwide Arena was the first NHL Arena to have its practice facility under the same roof. When the Blue Jackets are out of town the Ice Haus is made available for youth hockey groups, open skates for the public and skating competitions.

Cycling fans can bike their way to the Nationwide Arena. Both the Olentangy River Greenway Trail and the Scioto Trails bring you within a few blocks of the arena. There are two CoGo bike share stations at the arena (www.cogobikeshare.com)

One tragic legacy of the Nationwide Arena is the only fan fatality to occur at an NHL arena. As a teenager was struck in the head by a deflected puck. As a result, all NHL arenas and many stadiums in other sports have protective netting in place in areas with a high likelihood of a puck, ball or bat flying into the stands.

There is a very nice salute to high school hockey featuring the jerseys from schools throughout the state.

Food and Drink Recommendations

NADA

220 West Nationwide Boulevard

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 715-8260

http://www.eatdrinknada.com/columbus


Rodizio Grill

125 West Nationwide Boulevard

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 241-4400

http://www.rodiziogrill.com/


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Entertainment Recommendations

Ohio Statehouse

1 Capitol Square

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 752-9777

http://www.ohiostatehouse.org/


German Village

588 South Third Street

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 645-8329

http://www.germanvillage.com/


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Lodging Recommendations

 

Hilton Columbus Downtown

401 N High St

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 384-8600

http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/ohio/hilton-columbus-downtown-CMHDWHH/index.html


 

Courtyard by Marriot Columbus Downtown

35 W. Spring St.

Columbus, OH 43215

 (614) 228-3200

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/cmhcy-courtyard-columbus-downtown


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Crowd Reviews

Latest Crowd Reviews

Date: 2017-11-01 19:49:01
By: Legacy Review

Total Score
4.29

If I lived in Columbus, I would go here all the time. It really is one of the best NHL arenas around when all the elements of attending a game are combined. A great neighborhood, a unique game day presentation, and affordable tickets with excellent sight lines are all you really need for an NHL game to be enjoyable. If only the team could match their arena, the Blue Jackets could be the top destination in the league.

Stadium Info

Nationwide Arena
200 W Nationwide Blvd
Columbus, OH 43215

Columbus Blue Jackets Website

Nationwide Arena Website

Year Opened: 2000

Capacity: 18,103

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