You may have already noticed the buzz around town and the new structures in the Arena District. Columbus is hosting several big events this weekend, sure to bring more than just traffic to the city.
Nationwide Arena and the surrounding area will be the site of all 2015 NHL All-Star game festivities, marking the first time Columbus has hosted the event. Not only does this weekend provide a unique international stage to show off the Blue Jackets’ home city of Columbus, but the festivities leading up to the game also have a considerable impact on the local economy. An estimated 140,000 people, including 10,000 to 20,000 out-of-towners, are expected to make their way down to the Arena District for the NHL All-Star Weekend events, generating revenue of around $10 million to $15 million.
Also this weekend, the 2014-2015 Ohio State Buckeye football team will be hosting a National Championship celebration. From 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, the Ohio State coaches, student-athletes and staff will be recognized for the program’s eighth national championship. Athletic Director Gene Smith and Coach Urban Meyer will join Ohio State President Michael Drake, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman in speaking to the crowd at Ohio Stadium, which is conservatively expected to eclipse 50,000 attendees.
This isn’t the first time Columbus has been able to play host to high-profile events. This year, the Memorial Tournament will host their 40th annual tournament. Aside from being one of the most prestigious events on the PGA Tour, The Memorial Tournament has an annual total economic impact of over $50 million for the greater Columbus area. Columbus also hosts the Arnold Sports Festival (locally known as “The Arnold Classic”) each year. This year’s 27th annual event is expected to pump over $45 million into the local economy, as over 18,000 bodybuilders and 175,000 spectators patronize Columbus’ hotels, restaurants, and shopping venues. Additionally, Port Columbus is in the midst of an $80 million modernization project aimed at broadening Columbus’ travel opportunities with an eye towards making Columbus a more desirable destination.
All the while, Columbus is a finalist to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, along with New York City and Philadelphia. Should Columbus win the bid, the convention is expected to bring over 40,000 attendees and between $150 million and $200 million to the economy. Once widely thought of as a “cow town”, Columbus has transformed into one of the premier cities in the Midwest, recently ranking as Forbes’ #1 city for opportunities and ranking #8 in the nation for economic growth, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Being a finalist for a major event alongside the likes of New York City and Philadelphia is a good indicator of just how far Columbus has come since the days of old. What do you think, is Columbus ready for the big leagues?