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Nationwide Arena Makes Small Profit But Still Can't Pay Back Loans

Nationwide Arena
WOSU file photo

For the third year, Nationwide Arena will not be able to pay back any of its loans from a complex deal to use casino-tax money to finance the arena.  

The Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, which owns Nationwide Arena, reports that 2017 revenues from non-hockey related events and casino taxes are enough to pay for arena operations.  However, there are not enough funds to pay down the $52 million loans from the state and Nationwide Realty.

Don Brown, executive director of the convention facilities agency, says the arena will make a $1.5 million profit on operations this year.

“These obligations are prioritized," Brown says. "Operations must be met first, capital repairs and improvements second, and loans lastly."

Casino revenues have only brought in half of expected projections. The total revenue from events and casinos tax revenues came to more than $24 million, while $4 million came from casino taxes.  

Debbie Holmes began her career in broadcasting in Columbus after graduating from The Ohio State University. She left the Buckeye state to pursue a career in television news and worked as a reporter and anchor in Moline, Illinois and Memphis, Tennessee.