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Casino Revenue Helping Keep Blue Jackets In Columbus

The Columbus Blue Jackets have been toying with the idea of leaving the city they call home in search of greener pastures elsewhere. The team has been struggling financially, and they do not own the arena that they play in. It has become a major point of contention for their fans, players, and front office.

On Wednesday, the Blue Jackets brass unveiled a new plan that would keep the hockey team in Columbus moving forward. The plan involves taking revenue from a new casino opening in the city, and using it to buy the arena that Nationwide Realty Investors owns.

Nationwide would not only get the remaining funds for the purchase of the arena, but also would walk away with a part-ownership stake in the Blue Jackets under the terms of the proposal. The hope is that the new solution will keep the Blue Jackets in Columbus for a long time, something that fans in the area are hoping comes to fruition.

"We have been hearing the reports the past few years about the team relocating, and that would be just devastating," said Gina Ward, an avid Blue Jacket fan that started following the team when it moved to the city. "To give us a hockey team, and then take it away, that would have hurt. Hopefully this solution will allow us to keep our team right here in Ohio."

The terms of the deal have not yet been released, but they will involve the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority to purchase Nationwide Arena for $42.5 million. The Authority would then receive revenue some of the tax revenue generated from the new casino being built in the city.

Nationwide, would take $52 million of their own money, and invest in the Blue Jackets. The $52 million would get Nationwide 30% of the team. The Blue Jackets would agree to stay in the arena until 2039. The current agreement with the arena runs until 2026, so fans could take comfort in knowing they would have the team in Columbus for at least the next twenty-eight years.

The deal, while agreed upon by the companies involved, still needs several rounds of approval before it can be put in place. Public officials will have to sign off on the deal since there is money being borrowed for portions of the proposal. The officials may balk at the deal because the future of the area around the arena is in question.

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