2006 Arnold Sports Festival Expands Into Nationwide Arena!

The 2006 Arnold Sports Festival will take a major step this year when it holds eight events in Nationwide Arena and the attached Dispatch Ice Haus for the first time. Read on for the details.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 18, 2006

Columbus, Ohio - The Arnold Sports Festival, the nation's largest sports festival with 15,000 athletes in 30 sports and 120,000 attendees over a three-day period, will take a major step this year when it holds eight events in Nationwide Arena and the attached Dispatch Ice Haus for the first time.

Nationwide Arena, located in the heart of the Arena District in Downtown Columbus, is the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League, the Columbus Destroyers of the Arena Football League and hosts a variety of concerts and family events. The $150 million facility opened in September 2000.

Three Major Facilites:

    The Arnold Sports Festival also will stage 25 competitions and events in the nearby Greater Columbus Convention Center and five others in Franklin County Veterans Memorial making it the first event in Columbus history to use all three of the city's major downtown meeting facilities.

    "The Arnold Fitness Weekend has grown larger and larger every year and we are thrilled to expand into Nationwide Arena in 2006. Nationwide Arena's world-class facilities allow us to offer athletes and attendees several new Olympic sports this year, including figure and speed skating, hockey, boxing and a wide range of martial arts competitions," said James J. Lorimer, Director of the Arnold Fitness Weekend.

    "And the Friday Night Fights, Gracie Fighting Championships will be a tremendous milestone for our city as it will be the first fighting competition held in our city that will be offered to the world through IN DEMAND Pay-Per-View."

Friday Night Fights

    The main event at Nationwide Arena will be the March 3 Friday Night Fights. Gracie Fighting Championships, a mixed martial arts competition featuring members of the famous Gracie family of Brazil (which founded and mastered the Brazilian jiu-jitsu form of fighting that has dominated MMA events for decades), against Team Hammer House, a collection of some of the world's best fighters, many with Ohio ties. Team Hammer House will be coached by Mark "The Hammer" Coleman, a former All-American wrestler at Ohio State, and include Wes Sims of Lancaster, Ohio.

    Boxing legend Joe Frazier will be on hand to receive the Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Other events to be held in Nationwide Arena and its adjacent Dispatch Ice Haus include boxing, judo, tae kwon do, karate, figure skating, speed skating and hockey skills.

    "We are extremely excited to become part of the Arnold Sports Festival and for the opportunity to welcome thousands of competitors, spectators and fitness enthusiasts to Nationwide Arena and Dispatch Ice Haus," said Nationwide Arena Assistant General Manager Eric Granger.

    "Our 18,000-seat sports arena that will be used for the Friday Night Fights and the attached ice rink for the skating and hockey events provide an ideal set-up for athletes and fans alike."

Tickets:

    Tickets for the Friday Night Fights, Gracie Fighting Championships at Nationwide Arena are on sale now. Tickets are $100, $65, $55, $40, $30 and $20 and may be purchased at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (614) 431-3600.

    Tickets are also available at the Blue Jacket Zones located at the Chiller Dublin, Chiller Easton and Chiller North. All tickets are subject to applicable service charges.

    Tickets to 25 events held during the Arnold Sports Festival are included in the $10 daily entry fee to the Arnold Fitness EXPO. These include martial arts, boxing, hockey skills, figure skating, speed skating, women's bodybuilding, fitness and figure prejudging, gymnastics, a fitness fashion show, cheerleading and dance, strongman contest, 5K pump and run, armwrestling, bench press, powerlifting, weightlifting, fencing, wrestling, table tennis, archery, youth dance sport, and volleyball.

    Several other events require separate tickets. For a complete schedule of events for the 2006 Arnold Sports Festival, visit www.ArnoldSportsFestival.com.

    Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets and AFL Columbus Destroyers, is an SMG-managed facility. Headquartered in Philadelphia, SMG provides facility services to more than 170 venues controlling more than 1.46 million entertainment seats worldwide.

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