After requesting to speak with MLS and team officials about the status of Columbus Crew SC, Columbus leaders are planning to meet with the league next week.
Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt is looking into the possibility of relocating the franchise to Austin. He has said that no final decision has been made regarding relocation, but has noted that a downtown stadium will be crucial to keeping the team in Columbus.
In light of the situation, Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther and Alex Fischer, President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership, issued a statement late last month that said they had requested a meeting with Precourt and MLS commissioner Don Garber. It is now being confirmed that a meeting will take place in New York on November 15. More from The Columbus Dispatch:
Precourt has indicated that without a stadium Downtown, in the Arena District or in Franklinton, Crew SC would depart Columbus. In interviews with Austin media, Precourt and Precourt Sports Ventures President Dave Greeley have expressed their desire to build a stadium in Austin’s “urban core.”
Kimber Perfect, deputy chief of staff for communications for Ginther’s office, confirmed there is a meeting Nov. 15 and that Ginther will participate. A Precourt Sports Ventures spokesman would not confirm any details of a meeting, only that Precourt, MLS, Ginther and the Columbus Partnership “do plan on meeting.” Major League Soccer did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Meanwhile, the Austin City Council is expected to discuss the MLS effort on Thursday, when it could vote to direct staff to begin an evaluation of city-owned land that could be used for the project. Crew SC has struggled with low attendance numbers in recent years at MAPFRE Stadium, which opened as MLS’s first soccer-specific stadium in 1999 but has since fallen behind the standard of the league’s newer facilities.
Photo by Matthew Bernhardt, via flickr.com.
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