Inside the Venue: Nationwide Arena

By Brian Knapp Mar 5, 2011
A quick look inside the Nationwide Arena ...

Location: Columbus, Ohio
Built: 2000
Cost: $175 million
Seating Capacity: 21,000
Architect: 360 Architecture

The Nationwide Arena will play host to its first Strikeforce show on Saturday, when Strikeforce “Feijao vs. Henderson” descends on Columbus, Ohio. The event, which will air on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/PT, will feature a pair of five-round title fights, including the headliner -- a light heavyweight showdown pitting champion Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante against two-time Olympian Dan Henderson. Nine other bouts, a women’s welterweight championship match between titleholder Marloes Coenen and Liz Carmouche among them, fill out the lineup.

Architects broke ground on the 20,000-seat arena in 1997 and opened it three years later. It serves as the home facility for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, who reached the Western Conference quarterfinals during their 2008-09 campaign. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, whose global headquarters are located across the street, financed and developed the facility through its real estate development affiliate. It features a 70-foot, glass-enclosed atrium, two 80-foot party suite towers and a 135-foot light tower, which illuminates during events. The Nationwide Arena required 1.5 million labor hours to construct, along with 9,400 tons of steel, 1.3 million bricks, 44 miles of pipe, 300 miles of wire and 12,000 gallons of paint.

The arena serves as the home site for the annual Arnold Classic, a sports and fitness show named for and hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger. No stranger to mixed martial arts competition, the Nationwide Arena played host to UFC 68, UFC 82, UFC 96 and WEC 47. UFC 68, which was headlined by the memorable heavyweight title match between Tim Sylvia and Randy Couture, set a North American attendance record that has since been eclipsed.
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