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Columbus Blue Jackets Oppose Current Ticket Tax Proposal

Columbus Blue Jackets John Tortorella head coach John Tortorella.
Kamil Krzaczynski
Columbus Blue Jackets John Tortorella head coach John Tortorella.

A ticket tax proposed by Columbus City Council would mean more money for maintenance at Nationwide Arena. But Nationwide's highest-profile tenant is pushing back.

The 7 percent surcharge would support arts programming in Columbus and necessary repairs to an aging Nationwide Arena. But Blue Jackets' executives remain skeptical.

In a letter to city council, Blue Jackets president Michael Priest argues the admissions tax would “materially harm our business." He suggests the added costs could cut into their season ticket base.

The Columbus Blue Jackets do not pay rent at Nationwide Arena.

Priest leaves the door open to alternatives, though. The letter emphasizes opposition to the current proposal, while offering to work with city leaders on a revised plan.  

“I think throughout the process we’ve appreciated the feedback both positive and negative, both on the concept and on the specifics,” says Columbus Council member Michael Stinziano. “I think this is part of us going through this process on council and considering what’s going to be best for residents and businesses and all interested parties if we move forward with anything.”

Stinziano says the team’s position corresponds with conversations they’ve had about the plan, and he appreciates the team seeking input from its fans.

“So the letter just was more of a reiteration, and I appreciated that they surveyed their fan base and received their impressions and feedback on the proposal as well,” Stinziano says.

Stinziano says the team’s opposition to the current proposal won’t derail their efforts.

Jim Lorimer from the Arnold Sports Festival also wrote a letter in opposition, while the producers of Broadway musicals Hamilton and Wicked have written with concerns about how the tax could impact ticket sales.

The current ticket tax proposal would exempt arts venues with 400 or fewer seats, and events that charge $10 or less for admission.