2015 Nationwide Arena Budget Approved; Venue Barely In The Black

Nationwide Arena(Photo: WOSU Archive)
Nationwide Arena(Photo: WOSU Archive)

The board that oversees Nationwide Arena has approved the facility’s 2015 budget. Recent media reports say the arena is struggling financially but the facility’s chief operating officer disagrees.

Nationwide Arena might end the current fiscal year in the black according to arena COO Xen Riggs. He told board members Tuesday that with two weeks left in the year, the arena would probably clear $50,000; maybe closing the year with $150,000 profit. Riggs said later that the facility was never meant to be a cash cow. But he says it’s the economic engine that drives the arena district.

“We are exceeding everybody’s expectations by a good margin,” Riggs said.

The fiscal year 2015 budget – which the board approved – is very similar to the $20.5 million budget for 2014.

Projecting revenues and expenses for the coming year is difficult, Riggs says, because concerts are often booked only months in advance.

Recent press reports say the arena would not be viable without public dollars. It receives several million dollars from casino tax money. But Riggs says skeptics should consider the facility’s larger economic impact.

“It’s probably safe to say that the investment that’s being made into the arena has paid dividends beyond what’s being invested,” Riggs said.

With its ability to draw top-name performers, the NHL All-Star Weekend, NCAA events and giant conventions, Riggs says Nationwide Arena is a huge addition to the quality of life in Columbus.