Blue Jackets cash strapped

Columbus may have trouble holding on to the NHL’s Blue Jackets because the club has been losing US$12 million a year in central Ohio, according to a report released Thursday by a business group.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus may have trouble holding on to the NHL’s Blue Jackets because the club has been losing US$12 million a year in central Ohio, according to a report released Thursday by a business group.

The report commissioned by the Columbus Chamber offers a variety of options for strengthening the hockey team’s financial position, such as new taxes or fees or selling shares to other investors or the general public. Other suggestions include allowing the team to renegotiate its lease for Nationwide Arena or trying to attract a second major tenant, such as a basketball team.

“It is important that our community retain this team,” said Dave Blom, chairman of the Columbus Chamber board. “The Columbus Blue Jackets impact our regional economy, support thousands of jobs and bring millions of dollars in tax revenue that contribute to our quality of life.”

In the decade following 1998, the year after investors began the move to bring the team to Columbus, the city’s downtown Arena District has attracted various retail, restaurants and other businesses, increasing property values by 267 per cent and employing thousands, the report says.

Blue Jackets president Mike Priest said that the team’s current economic model has “significant disadvantages” and that it plans to work with public and private groups to find a solution.

Priest said the Blue Jackets, now in their ninth season, have built and maintained fan and corporate participation that has supported the team.

“Public partnership in arenas and stadiums has been a critical element to ensuring healthy, competitive sports franchises in markets across the country, including Cleveland and Cincinnati in Ohio, and our priority continues to be to secure long-term financial viability in this great city,” he said.

Options in the report, produced by Stephen Buser, a finance professor from the business college at Ohio State University, include plans to continue the current private ownership, opt for alternate private ownership or public-private partnerships.

He says in the report the Blue Jackets are at a disadvantage to other NHL teams for reasons including that the team must pay $5 million a year to use the arena, incur costs of managing the arena year round and have no access to parking revenue or payments for arena naming rights.

The $150 million arena was financed by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. It is one of the few NHL facilities in the country that is privately owned — largely because county voters wanted it that way. They have rejected arena tax issues three times between 1986 and 1997. The team’s owners unsuccessfully asked that the current state budget include a tax increase on beer, wine, liquor and cigarettes in Franklin County to raise $65 million to underwrite a county takeover of the arena. Local voters have repeatedly rejected public financing of the centre, and the tax increase was opposed by members of the beer and wine industry, including brewing giant Anheuser-Busch, which operates one of its 12 U.S. breweries in the city.

Just Posted

WATCH: Central Albertans learn about farm life at Sunnybrook Farm Museum

Pioneer Days Festival in Red Deer Saturday-Sunday

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

VIDEO: Central Albertans learn about Icelandic poet at Stephansson House

Harvest Fair and Quilt Show hosted at Stephansson House in Spruce View Sunday

Trump says his White House counsel not a ‘RAT’ like Nixon’s

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his White House… Continue reading

Wildfire moves closer to Glacier National Park’s scenic road

MISSOULA, Mont. — A wildfire in Montana’s Glacier National Park is forcing… Continue reading

Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Couillard march in Montreal’s Pride parade

MONTREAL — Thousands of cheering spectators lined the streets of Montreal on… Continue reading

All eyes on Andrew Scheer as Conservative convention set for Halifax

OTTAWA — After a week of internal caucus squabbles, Conservative Leader Andrew… Continue reading

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

In the wake of deadly flooding in the Indian state of Kerala,… Continue reading

Indonesia’s Lombok island jolted by multiple quakes

SEMBALUN, Indonesia — Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok… Continue reading

Afghan president calls for Eid cease-fire, Taliban to reply

KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire… Continue reading

Montreal may have less influence after October provincial election

MONTREAL — When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month