A Neutral Review of Nationwide Arena
What does a group who travels to stadiums around the world think of the home arena of the Columbus Blue Jackets?
Recently, the staff here at The Cannon was contacted by a website called Stadium Journey who reached out with their recent review of Nationwide Arena. Stadium Journey describes themselves as
Stadium Journey was founded in 2009, originally with the idea that one man would be travelling the country with the goal of seeing as many sports stadiums as possible, while documenting the experience and sharing tips and recommendations. We soon found that by utilizing a community of stadium travelers we could cover more ground and provide greater coverage of the sports travel world. To date, we have reviewed more than 2,600 stadiums in 61 countries around the world. We have nearly 100 writers who travel to games and prepare reviews in order for you to have a great next trip.
Stadium Journey reviewed Nationwide Arena according to the following categories (om a scale of one to five): food and beverage, atmosphere, neighborhood, fans, access, return on investment, and extras.
Food and Beverage
Stadium Journey gives this section of their review a three, noting the prices of each fare the team has to offer at the concession stands. I would agree with this assessment. For the prices, the food is fine. There is nothing outstanding about the food or beverages offered. Also, the Atlanta Falcons have figured out how not to gouge fans on food and drink. Come on, Jackets, you raised beer prices fifty cents after last season.
Stadium Journey gives the atmosphere a three, but singles out the cannon as a point of praise unique among arenas that the group has visited. The group also notes the presence of many local companies and organizations in the arena. The Blue Jackets have always been about the city and emphasizing their ties to the community (something the Columbus Crew ownership could take note of #SaveTheCrew). One could assume that the score would be higher if the team was a perennial Stanley Cup contender, though.
Neighboorhood gets a five, and you’re not going to find an argument from me. The Arena District is an awesome area with great bars and great food for every single person who could ever want to visit the area. My literal only complaint is that the area should be open carry. I should be able to walk from R Bar to Nationwide Arena with a Labatt Blue tall boy before the game.
Fans get a four, and that sounds right. Columbus Blue Jackets fans are awesome despite the poor record of the team in its history. There is always competition with Ohio State during the fall and with apathy in the spring if attendance is bad, but the team has seen upticks in attendance as the team has improved over the last few seasons. One can anticipate that this trend will continue so long as the team continues winning, and the season ticket holder base will continue to expand.
Access gets a four in the ratings, which sounds right. I would take another point off for the complete mess of street access to parking garages (especially on weeknights with workers attempting to leave downtown) but overall Nationwide Arena is served by 4 freeways which makes it easy to reach from any corner of the state fans could be traveling in from. There are also several methods of public transportation and numerous hotels around the arena for out of town visitors.
Return on Investment
Here, I disagree. The review gives this a three, and I would put it at a five. As far as attending a game in Nationwide Arena goes, even when factoring in parking and food, it is still one of the cheaper tickets in the game. Sure, it’s not $6 on the secondary market like a game in Miami might be, but at face value, the Blue Jackets provide some of the best bang for you buck in the National Hockey League. Visit Canadian markets, Pittsburgh, or Nashville: you’re going to pay far more for a game day experience than you ever will in Columbus. Hard disagree here, Stadium Journey.
The extras get a four. The Ice Haus and the Cannon. I mean, enough said. I give it a five.
Stadium Journey gives Nationwide Arena a 3.71 out of 5. I have it at a 4.14 in my rankings because I think Nationwide is a pretty spectacular building with a couple things dragging it down (LOOKING AT YOU, CRAFT BEER PRICES). It’s overall one of the better buildings and all around gameday experiences in the NHL. I love the building, and it feels like a home away from home because my favorite team in the world lives there.
What do y’all think of the barn? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out Stadium Journey to see their reviews of Nationwide Arena and other stadiums across the globe.