Report: Nationwide Arena Will Lose Money in 2019, According to Its Management Company

By Rob Mixer on May 31, 2018 at 11:35 am
Nationwide Arena sits quietly before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup playoffs between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals.
Aaron Doster – USA TODAY Sports

It costs a lot of money to run a world-class arena, and with casino tax revenues falling way short of expectations, Columbus Arena Management is finding out the hard way.

Columbus Business First recently reported on the group's only public meeting of the year, which was held Wednesday evening, in which CAM disclosed the arena will take a $110,041 loss in 2019. According to the report, CAM outlined the arena's 2018-19 budget of $35.78 million in revenues and $35.47 million of expenses, which a member of the arena's accounting staff pegged as "conservative."

CAM said it's projecting a net profit of $308,691 in the 2018 fiscal year.

As Nationwide Arena approaches its 20th birthday, however, the issue becomes upkeep and completing important projects to keep the facility on pace with its counterparts. Business First spoke to arena general manager Mike Gatto, who said projects like replacing retractable seating, parking garage repairs and hot water tanks will cost $1.2 million.

The funding for some of the projects will come from the arena's operating income, said general manager Mike Gatto. The chillers and hot water tanks will be paid for by a $2 million operating reserve.

"The project will cost just under $1.2 million," Gatto said. "We have the money in operating reserves, but unfortunately, it depletes our reserve by about $800,000."

Casino tax revenues produced about half of what was initially projected, which is one reason why Nationwide Arena must go to the well of its operating reserves.

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