Arnold Sports Festival At Odds With City, State Over Attendance

After agreeing to ban spectators from nearly all events associated with this weekend’s Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus due to coronavirus concerns, organizers now say that, while the trade show portion is still canceled, they want spectators to be able to attend the events.

During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, festival co-founder Jim Lorimer announced that the trade show would remain canceled, but ticketed spectators would be allowed to view all competitions.

The announcement contradicts an earlier statement from Governor Mike DeWine and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther that only the championship final would be open to the public.

In a letter to Governor DeWine and Mayor Ginther – Arnold Schwarzenegger points out how other events – like March Madness in Cleveland and Dayton – like Cleveland Cavaliers basketball games – how Columbus Blue Jackets hockey games and how Wizard World comic con in Cleveland – are all scheduled to go on as planned. Because of this – the former governor of California wants to move forward with selling tickets for this weekend’s Arnold Sports Festival.

In response, DeWine and Ginther’s offices released a joint statement saying they expect the organizers to honor the original agreement to limit spectators to only the finals.

The statement read, in part:

In the event that organizers fail to comply with our agreement, we stand ready to take appropriate action under Ohio law to protect the health and safety of the residents of the state of Ohio and our guests.