It was speculated for weeks, especially after the Winter Classic was canceled, and it became official on Friday: the 2013 All-Star Game has been canceled. In contrast to the cheers that filled ScotiaBank Place when Ottawa hosted the All-Star Game in January, Columbus’ Nationwide Arena will sit idle on January 26 and 27.
“The [Columbus] Blue Jackets are very disappointed for our fans that All-Star festivities will not be coming to our great city in January,” Blue Jackets president Mike Priest said. “Our commitment to bringing this event to our fans is as strong as ever.”
The news is terrible for local businesses that would’ve benefited from the event by way of hockey fans flocking to the Arena District, an area of Columbus within walking distance from Nationwide Arena. Bars, restaurants, movie theaters and stores were counting on the economic boost, and hotels throughout the city were ready to prepare for the influx of visitors. On top of that, travel planners who had bought blocks of rooms for trip packages are now taking the hit for it.
Economic impact studies have estimated that the city would’ve gained between $15 and $25 million in tourist revenue over the course of the week. This loss of revenue is compounded with the loss of regular season revenues. In a city such as Columbus, that’s a devastating combined loss.
Unlike the Winter Classic, which will likely return to Detroit in 2014, Columbus probably won’t have the All-Star Game until 2015 at the earliest due to the 2014 Winter Olympics. It happened in the past with San Jose and Atlanta, who were awarded their turn at the event after the event was initially canceled due to the two previous lockouts. Now Columbus will have to wait.
Fans who had already purchased tickets for the game and/or the SuperSkills Challenge will get a full refund for them. Details can be found on the Blue Jackets’ website.