September 8th, 2000
COLUMBUS — Nationwide Arena – the nation’s newest and most innovative indoor venue for major league sports and entertainment and the centerpiece of a major downtown development in Columbus – officially opens today with formal ceremonies and an open house for community organizations and season ticket holders.
“Building the Nationwide Arena for the residents of Columbus was the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Dimon R. McFerson, chairman of Nationwide, which developed the Arena in partnership with The Dispatch Printing Company. “This area’s dramatic transformation; from blight and abandonment to this stunning Arena and the surrounding Arena District, fulfills Nationwide’s commitment to revitalize downtown. We are honored to deliver on this promise for the citizens of Columbus and Ohio.”
The Nationwide Arena is home to the National Hockey League’s newest expansion team, the Columbus Blue Jackets. The team is owned locally by a group headed by John H. McConnell, founder of Worthington Industries in Columbus.
In addition to 40 regular-season NHL games with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Nationwide Arena will host a wide variety of sports and entertainment. The first sold-out concerts take place Sept. 9 and 10 and feature country superstars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.