Andy Gottesman / Multimedia editor
It’s been seven months since a one-year contract was signed putting Ohio State in charge of managing both the Schottenstein Center and Nationwide Arena, and although the venues are reportedly ahead of budget, no financial numbers can be released to back up these claims. There is also confusion spreading about whether tickets can be purchased for joint events at either venue.
In a December interview with The Lantern, Xen Riggs, the associate vice president of OSU’s Office of Administration and Planning, referenced that tickets could be purchased at one venue for an event taking place at the other.
Riggs said OSU has received positive feedback from both venues and from the public about the new opportunity to cross-promote events.
“If we have a concert going on at one building, we’re able to offer the client list to the other building to market them back and forth,” Riggs said.
He also said “they can easily purchase tickets at both buildings.”
Riggs is now clarifying that the public cannot “physically purchase tickets for both venues at the physical box office location.”
Although Riggs brought up that tickets could be purchased at both buildings, Karen Davis, director of business communications for the Columbus Blue Jackets, said Riggs meant something else.
“I would imagine what he was referencing was the opportunity for select groups, for example, Blue Jackets season ticket holders, to have access to purchasing tickets at the Schottenstein Center,” she said. “I’m not sure what groups over there would have similar access here, but I would imagine that’s probably what he means.”
Riggs said in an e-mail Wednesday that the Schott and Nationwide have “opt in/opt out fan data base(s),” called the Schottenstein Insider and Premier Access, respectively.
“With the partnership of the two arenas, we have now extended whatever offers we can to the collective lists at both venues,” Riggs said. “For instance — if you are a Schottenstein Insider, you might be given the opportunity to buy during the presale for an event at Nationwide and visa versa. There are some limitations such as number of tickets you can purchase and seating locations, as there are always great locations held for the public on sale. Promoters are finding great value in our ability to cross promote between the data bases of the two arenas.”
Davis also said there are opportunities for groups related to the entities to purchase from each other’s venues through presales.
Despite this mix up, Nationwide is not aware of any instances in which customers have come to the box office looking to buy tickets for a show at the Schottenstein Center, Davis said.
Riggs said being able to purchase tickets at both venues is something that has been discussed. However, each venue currently has its own contract with Ticketmaster, making this impossible.
“In order to sell tickets to the other building’s events, or for that matter any other venue, we would have to be considered an ‘outlet,’ which neither building is,” Riggs said. “This requires a different contractual relationship with Ticketmaster.”
The Wexner Center ticket office and many Kroger and Giant Eagle grocery stores are “outlets” that can sell tickets for all Ticketmaster venues.
Although both venues want to push in this direction, Riggs said it is not a simple matter.
OSU joined forces with both venues for financial reasons to “enhance Columbus as a destination for concerts and live events by providing marketing and other tools that may not be available in other cities,” Riggs said.
Financially, combined marketing tools have brought the venues big savings and revenue. Riggs said the collaboration was hitting and exceeding the expected financial and programmatic outcomes they anticipated.
However, Riggs said there are no numbers to release regarding savings.
In a January interview with The Lantern, President E. Gordon Gee said the estimated cost savings from consolidation in terms of management will be close to $1 million for both arenas.