Blue Jackets, fans, and bars all winners as fans return to the Arena District

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – After a win Tuesday night, the Columbus Blue Jackets losing streak is over.

For the first time in more than a year, fans were allowed into Nationwide Arena for the game, and the team wasn’t the only one coming out winners.

“Day one season ticket holders and we were really blessed to get tickets, so we’re really happy to be back, and obviously it worked,” said Blue Jackets fan Jess Sullivan. “We scored a lot more goals than we had been.”

Not only was it a good night for the team and its fans, but it was also a good night for bars and restaurants in the Arena District.

They said fans in the stands means more business.

The Fifth Line was excited about the win and even more excited they got to see it in person. Nationwide Arena was at 10 percent capacity – about 2,000 fans – for Tuesday’s game.

Before the game, some of those fans were at Arena District bars and restaurants.

“Tonight was a great night,” said Boston’s owner Tim Emery. “It was probably at the top end of our expectations and it was just really nice, for the first time in almost a year, to have an event in the arena district.” 

Emery said even though just 1,953 fans got to go to the game, his restaurant still experienced a big boost in business compared to when there weren’t any fans.

“It was substantially bigger,” he said. “We won’t know until later tonight what the final number is, but it’ll probably be three or 400 percent over what a typical Tuesday night has been.”

The difference was felt up the street as well. Whistle and Keg sits right next to Nationwide’s Front Street entrance, and staff there said they had a great and safe pregame crowd, too.

“It just shows a promising future that once it gets back to full capacity, we think we’re going to be be thriving and striving,” said Whistle and Keg general manager Evan Walton.

Back at Boston’s, Emery said they saw fans they haven’t seen in a year and here’s hoping they’ll be seeing more.

“This is a first step,” he said. “Hopefully the first of many as we continue to build on this.” 

No longer restricted by the state’s curfew, establishments were hoping to cash in after the game as well.

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