It appears that Austin FC will be unveiled by MLS next week, as a major announcement concerning the prospective club is scheduled for January 15.
Backed by Anthony Precourt‘s Precourt Sports Ventures, Austin FC has been widely expected to be announced in early 2019 as MLS’s 27th team. That has been particularly true since last month, when PSV and the City of Austin finalized an agreement that clears the way for the construction of a new soccer-specific stadium at the city-owned McKalla Place in North Austin.
Club officials confirmed on Tuesday that an announcement from the team, city, and MLS has been scheduled for January 15. More from the Austin American-Statesman:
Austin FC leadership confirmed Tuesday that the team will host what has been termed a “Legendary Announcement” on Jan. 15. Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Anthony Precourt, the team’s chairman and CEO, will be the main presenters.
“I sure am looking forward to participating in a legendary announcement,” Adler told the American-Statesman. “I’m real excited. I just think this is such a good and important thing for our community. We just don’t have a lot of things that bring people together the way I think a soccer team is going to in Austin.”
Confirmation came after a screenshot was posted on Twitter of an invitation to the event. The time and location of the event had not been released as of press time. MLS declined to comment when reached.
The announcement itself isn’t exactly a secret. All signs point toward Garber officially recognizing Austin FC as the 27th franchise in MLS.
Precourt initially announced in the fall of 2017 that he was exploring a move of Columbus Crew SC to Austin, but eventually a solution was reached that allows the Crew to remain in Columbus while Precourt moves forward with plans for Austin. Jimmy and Dee Haslam–owners of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns–and the Columbus-based Edwards family reached an agreement in principal late last month to buy into MLS and receive operating rights to Columbus, while Precourt remained an MLS investor in order to proceed with plans for Austin FC.
The new Austin FC stadium is expected to open in 2021, though an official launch date for the club has not been announced. The stadium agreement, which has drawn opposition in some circles, calls for the $225-million facility to be privately financed, but fall under city ownership. PSV would not pay property taxes, but instead lease the stadium from the city and make annual rent payments of $550,000 beginning in year six of a 20-year lease.
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