To have a conversation about options for keeping Columbus Crew SC in the city, Columbus officials are asking to meet with owner Anthony Precourt and MLS.
It was recently revealed that Precourt is mulling a relocation of the club to Austin. Though he has said that no final decisions have been made, Austin officials look to be moving closer to considering site options for a MLS stadium. Crew SC has struggled with low attendance numbers at MAPFRE Stadium, which opened as MLS’s first soccer-specific stadium in 1999 but has since fallen behind the standards set by the league’s newer facilities.
On Tuesday, Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther and Alex Fischer, President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership issued a statement addressed the situation. It was noted in that statement that they made requests to meet with Precourt and MLS commissioner Don Garber, and that meetings are expected “to occur over the coming weeks.”
Mayor Ginther & Alex Fischer, President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership, released this statement regarding @ColumbusCrewSC: pic.twitter.com/9veMJFuAOn
— Mayor Andrew Ginther (@MayorGinther) October 24, 2017
In its own statement, Precourt’s ownership group, Precourt Sports Ventures, said it was looking forward to a meeting. More from The Columbus Dispatch:
“Precourt Sports Ventures looks forward to having conversations alongside Major League Soccer, Mayor Ginther and the Columbus Partnership,” according to a statement the company issued Tuesday afternoon. “As Mayor Ginther and the Columbus Partnership have mentioned, there will not be any further updates ahead of this dialogue.”
Ginther’s spokeswoman, Robin Davis, said she was unaware of whether the mayor and Fischer had a plan to keep the Crew in Columbus that they intend to present to Precourt and Garber.
“What they’re looking to do is have a face to face conversation about what both sides want and what some of the solutions may be,” she said.
To this point, Precourt has said that he is not seeking a publicly-financed stadium in either Columbus or Austin, so it remains to be seen how proposals would come together. Crew SC–which averaged 15,439 fans per game in 2017, good for 20th in the 22-team MLS–will play at MAPFRE Stadium in 2018.
Photo by Matthew Bernhardt, via flickr.com.
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