COLUMBUS, OHIO – Columbus Blue Jackets President Mike Priest issued the following statement this afternoon:
"The Columbus Blue Jackets are in the process of seeking a solution for a structural problem in the economic model that was created over a decade ago to ensure the construction of Nationwide Arena and the procurement of a NHL team for Columbus. This is an issue for us because we manage and operate the team as well as the building. Because the building was financed and constructed privately, there are certain revenue streams typically available to teams that are not available to the Blue Jackets.
As an organization, we have incurred substantial losses over the past several years, of which a significant portion is related to arena operations under the current structure. It is a building financial problem that has become a team financial problem. If we fix the building problem, we fix the team problem.
To that end, we have been working with Nationwide over the past several months to come up with a solution. They understand the issue and stand ready to be a significant part of the solution. During that time, we also began discussing the problem with the NHL, State, County and City officials.
We want to work with the community to come up with a resolution and have provided ideas to the public sector similar to how Cleveland handled their sports facility issues a number of years ago. We have asked the general assembly to provide a tool in the toolkit for our local governments to consider.
Our priority is to secure the long-term financial viability of the Blue Jackets because we believe it is important to our fans and to the economic health of our community."