by Bethany on 06/04/09 at 12:03 AM ET
The Blue Jackets had five bloggers get together yesterday for a roundtable discussion. I was lucky enough to be asked to go to the meeting and to have Senior Vice President of the Blue Jackets, Greg Kirstein, explain the entire situation to us in regards to the sin tax (the tax on alcohol and cigarettes), and the exact situation that is happening with the Blue Jackets. Mike Priest is currently on vacation which was why he was not there meeting with us.
I am not a resident of Columbus or Franklin County so the ‘sin tax’ has nothing to do with me…except my team is involved.
Mr. Kirstein made it VERY clear that this is not a bailout the Blue Jackets…it’s an arena problem. They are trying to get a different lease on Nationwide Arena. As you know the Blue Jackets have lost quite a bit of money since coming into the NHL, and Mr. Kirstein said that even if we sold out all 41 games, this would still be a problem…the arena would still lose money.
Mr. Kirstein also said that this has BEEN a problem, and that the Jackets have not thought about moving for one minute.
They also wanted to make it clear that Nationwide isn’t the bad guy, they’re willing to sell the arena at a loss and reinvest that money into the team and become a minority owner.
The Blue Jackets had an Economic Impact Study done by the OSU John Glenn School of Public Affairs to answer the question, “What has impact of TEAM and ARENA been over 10 years (1998-2008) [on Columbus]?
*$850 million in visitor spending in the 10 years.
*6 housing complexes – 800 residents
*$350 million in wages (2006)
*7,000 employees (2008)
*172 businesses in District (2006)
That’s just some of what the study found.
This is not a new problem. This is something that Mike Priest has been working on for the last 14 months.
The way it was phrased to us last night, is if you have ever had a good time at the arena district, then call your commissioners and let them know that you want something done. Just because the team hasn’t thought about being moved doesn’t mean it won’t happen if something is not done to help the Blue Jackets.
Call your commissioners and your Mayor if you want something done to help the Jackets, and let them know that you care and you want the Blue Jackets around…the sin tax wasn’t the solution so we need to come up with something else.
Commissioner Paula Brooks ~ 614-462-5729
Commissioner Marilyn Brown ~ 614-462-3461
Commissioner John O’Grady ~ 614-462-5589
Mayor Michael B. Coleman ~ 614-645-7671
Also, here’s some reading from some of the other bloggers who were at the meeting last night.
And, for the record I am really bad when it comes to politics, taxes, and things of this nature, but the thing I DO care about is the Blue Jackets and if there’s anyway that me posting this blog can help them, then I am going to do it.
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