Here’s one way to keep promoters from negotiating a better deal in the Columbus arena market: Ohio State, which now books both Nationwide Arena and the Schottenstein Center, refuses to make public the details of its management deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL).
The background: The Blue Jackets are losing he team rents the arena for $5 million, pays SMG for management and then loses $4 million on operations, with a total of $12 million of losses annually on the ledgers for all parts of the business.
As part of the restructuring of the Blue Jackets business operations, Ohio State took over bookings at Nationwide Arena. But after a request for information from the Columbus Dispatch (which, ironically, owns 10 percent of Nationwide Arena), Ohio State refused to make all the details of its management deal public, citing the need to keep information secret so promoters couldn’t maneuver for a better deal.
Of course, promoters pitching Nationwide Arena and the Schottenstein Center against each other is what helped cause the current financial situation. And statements from Ohio State would indicate that there’s a set of variables to ensure a promoter will receive roughly the same deal from either venue; the variables include the overhead retained by each arena and any revenue sharing. It sounds complicated, and it sounds like all involved aren’t entirely sure the arrangement will work in the long run. But any move to help the Blue Jackets will surely be welcomed.