Blue Jackets Playoff Games Bring Excitement, Revenue To Columbus

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UPDATED: Monday April 28, 2014 5:39 PM

Nationwide Arena is expecting another crowd of more than 19,000 fans for tonight’s pivotal Game 6 against Pittsburgh.

It is the third home playoff game and each one brings in millions of extra dollars to the city, including bars & restaurants, and retail stores.

And it's all because more fans are coming out to cheer on their team.

Fans started camping out outside the arena ticket office Sunday afternoon, more than 24 hours before the final tickets went on sale.

Some even pitched tents to wait out the long night.

"They say crazy, I say passionate.  I love this team, I love everything about it.  I've been here since day one, and I don't want to miss anything,” said Blue Jackets fan Grant Flood

The first-in-line, diehard fans got an extra surprise when Jackets forward Cam Atkinson dropped by to sign autographs, pose for pictures and even hand out hockey sticks to lucky fans.

When early morning rain came, the arena opened its doors as fans crowded inside without complaints.

"Sitting around here with a bunch of Blue Jackets fans, making new friends along the way; it's a lot of fun,” said fan Matt Leininger.

Some people chose to sleep or eat, while others played video games or texted to pass the time.  Even a few college students got in some last-minute studying for final exams.

Meanwhile, stores like Homage in the Short North continued to sell jackets merchandise at a brisk pace.

Each playoff game brings in an estimated $2 million extra for the team, but the long-term loyalty the team is building could pay off even more in coming years.

Fans, like Grant Flood, say they now have something to believe in.

"We are the fifth line, this is what we do.” 

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