Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 9/5/12
The city of Columbus has much to gain from providing continued maintenance and upgrades to Nationwide Arena, said Franklin County Convention Facilities Executive Director Bill Jennison Friday. Its all part of our pitch to the NCAA to bring more events here, said Jennison of the 5.7 million technological upgrades at Nationwide Arena, expected to be finished Sept. 15. The city of Columbus was host to the 2012 NCAA basketball tournament in March and has put in multiple bids for future NCAA events here as well. Jennison said the new Dispatch Digital Media Center currently being installed at Nationwide Arena was designed for basketball, as well as hockey, to support more tournament bids in Columbus. Basketball likes to have a different set-up on their board to show the rosters for their teams, said Jennison. This board will accommodate all of those needs. The multi-million project features a true HD video scoreboard and screens almost three times larger than that of the original board (Current size=25 wide by 15 high equaling 387 square feet compared to the original at 16 wide by 9 high equaling 144 square feet). The design is meant to integrate multiple new high-resolution, energy-efficient LED video displays within the arena bowlit requires the installation of 15.8 million new LEDs. Blue Jackets Director of Game OperationsEvent Presentation Derek Dawley said hockey fans will appreciate the new screens primarily because of the replay action the crew will be able to show. The angles we can get on replay and how quickly we can see themby the time they go, Hey, were going to Toronto, fans already know whats going on, said Dawley. Dawley said the club is also fixing one major gripe hockey fans had previous to the new technological eye candythe audio system. People in the lower bowl couldnt understand what was happening and for people in the upper bowl it was too loud, said Dawley of the audio system thats moving from analog to digital. The audio will now be even throughout the Arena. The awesome display of technological prowess is a win for Columbus, who will be the darling of the NHL international world come January. The NHL All Star Game is an international event that will bring media from all around the world, said Jennison. It will also draw all the other NHL cities here; its just a great weekend to show off Columbus from an international standpoint. The Hilton hotel will also be ready for NHL visitors by Januaryit opens October 15. Columbus will also be the spotlight of another big event in 2013the Presidents Cup, said Jennison of the PGA event to be hosted at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin. Its another opportunity for the world to see Columbus and that we can put on these national events. The Arena, said Jennison, has always been the catalyst for development in the Arena District, as well as the centerpiece by which to recruit eventsparticularly sporting eventsto the city. The entire Arena District was a surface lot and a dilapidated penitentiary 13 years ago, said Jennison. Its remarkable whats been accomplished. Jennison said drawing people in and speaking to them after they go always draws a surprisedbut satisfiedreaction. Columbus likes to fly below the radar. Nobody knows what to expect when they come here. Theyre actually amazed when they get here and see all the things there are to do and what a great hospitality destination Columbus is, said Jennison. Continuing to upgrade the Arena and make it competitive with other buildings is critical in keeping people coming back.
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