As the effort to lure Columbus Crew SC to the city continues, the leader behind a relaunched USL Austin club says work on his plan is at a “dead stop.”
Austin officials are in the midst of pursuing Crew SC, as club owner Anthony Precourt has indicated his interest in possibly relocating the club to the city. Discussions of Precourt moving Crew SC to Austin came after another soccer-related effort was announced. In August, Circuit of The Americas Chairman Bobby Epstein revealed his intention for a revived USL Austin club. Epstein’s plan called for the club to stage home matches at a new stadium to be constructed at the Circuit of Americas, and to begin play for the 2019 season.
In recent remarks, however, Epstein indicated that work on that effort has stalled. Epstein also said that he does not see a partnership with Precourt as being a likely endeavor at this point. More from The Austin Monitor:
Bobby Epstein, chair at COTA and majority owner of the United Soccer League franchise, said all work on the stadium and hiring team staff have come to a “dead stop” because of the attention the possible MLS relocation has attracted. The team’s agreement with the USL states it needs to be ready to take the field and compete by 2019, meaning the assorted delays could put the team’s existence in jeopardy.
Epstein said he hasn’t had any contact with Precourt yet and that a partnership likely wouldn’t work because Epstein’s goal is to build a soccer facility at COTA instead of in the urban core of Austin.
“I don’t know that we have that much to offer because we don’t have a location close to the core,” he said. “If the city finds land they think is appropriate for a stadium development, I’d sure like a chance to do something with it if Columbus doesn’t.”
Last week, the Austin City Council moved the MLS effort forward by approving a resolution that directs staff to begin the process of evaluating city-owned land, including underutilized park space, that could be used for a stadium project.