Hallelujah! Just two years after getting bailed out by a public purchase costing $42.5 million plus $9.5 million a year in lease breaks, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Nationwide Arena is set to turn a profit this year, according to Columbus Business First:
Nationwide Arena is on track to finish its fiscal 2013 with a $500,000 operating profit, even though arena managers had planned for a $260,000 loss when they put together the budget a year ago.
How did it manage this? Well, it helped that part of the NHL season was wiped out by a lockout, because apparently the arena spends so much on running hockey games that it loses money on them. (Admittedly, this isn’t tough when the Blue Jackets’ revised lease says the team doesn’t have to pay rent.) Plus, it’s getting about $4 million in subsidies from the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority. And finally, it isn’t actually making money, since a projected shortfall this year is being covered by a surplus from 2012.
But not to worry: So long as the NHL keeps cancelling games, and the public keeps underwriting the arena’s losses, Columbus can look forward to years more of an arena that only bleeds money slowly. And headlines about how this is actually a “profit,” because that’s what newspapers do.