After public bailout, Columbus arena now making money, except for the making money part

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.


7 comments on “After public bailout, Columbus arena now making money, except for the making money part

  1. I think this could be the beginnings of a new business model for the NHL (and it’s victim host-cities):

    1. Build an arena

    2. Agree to pay the team $250k per game to play in it

    3. Cancel as many games as necessary to keep operating costs below arena revenues.

    So, really, it’s no longer about paying a team to play in a free arena. It’s more like paying them not to play in the arena you built for them.

    Maybe it is time the big asteroid dropped in to reset the earth again.

  2. And don’t forget about getting a big company and the local newspaper to build the arena, then the newspaper runs articles describing how the public bailout of said newspaper and insurance company’s stake in said arena is working out great for the public.

    I’m not sure why Chrome on Android keeps eating this comment.. or maybe I’m banned.

  3. Is anyone else having trouble with Android? I don’t have one, so can’t test it.

  4. Not sure what it is… maybe it’s some internal cache issue on my phone after banishing the random character validation. The smallest version of the mobile theme (nexus 4, chrome) says post submitted, refresh to see your comment…. then there’s nothing when I refresh (and nothing was posted when I refresh this site on a completely different browser/computer).

  5. Look at the bright side, Joe. The NSA apparently just wants to read and listen to what the rest of us are doing. Yours, they want to keep.