COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – It was a Columbus sweep on the first night all three of the city’s professional sports teams played at the same time in the Arena District. The Columbus Crew and Columbus Clippers both won, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the St. Louis Blues in a preseason game.
“Just love the ambiance, the moment, just seeing everyone together, all the clash of colors and just the enthusiasm and just seeing lots of people down here, just loving the environment,” said Stephen Mabe who went to the Crew game.
Wednesday night was the first time all three teams played in their downtown stadiums since Lower.com field opened. With all three fanbases coming in, fans were encouraged to pre-pay for parking and arrive early. That is exactly why Jenny and Brett Johnson were comfortable waiting outside Nationwide Arena well before puck drop.
“It’s exciting, we came down early, we wanted to make sure we would be able to get parking and get into a restaurant beforehand. But it’s pretty exciting to see Columbus happening like this,” said Jenny Johnson. “On the way down, we actually said the Arena District is actually the Arena District tonight, not just one or two things happening, but it lives up to its name tonight.”
Wednesday was also the first big test for Columbus’ new Arena District Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA). The DORA opens on game days three hours before games start and stays open until midnight. Before Wednesday’s games, fans were walking around the approved boundaries with alcoholic drinks in the special DORA cups.
“It’s still a little weird walking down the street legally but it’s good, it’s great,” said Mabe.
Whistle & Keg is one of the establishments participating in the Arena District DORA. It sits right next to Nationwide Arena.
“The DORA is going to have a huge impact on us and businesses around here,” said Carson Yerian, General Manager of Whistle & Keg. “I just think we’re going to see a huge boost with our numbers and getting people into other parts of Columbus that have kind of been deserted ever since the beginning of COVID.”
Signs indicating boundaries and signs with rules are posted around the area.