MLS Team Columbus Crew SC Eyeing Move To Austin, Texas
Columbus Crew SC, the Major League Soccer team, is considering a relocation to Austin, Texas, the team owner revealed on Monday.
Columbus Crew SC Relocation News
Owner Anthony Precourt said the franchise will move unless Columbus can come up with a plan for a new downtown stadium.
“MLS is enjoying unprecedented growth and our league peers are improving on and off the field, year over year” Precourt told ESPN FC. “So that high-water mark keeps getting higher and higher, and we have an ambition as a club. We want to be one of the standard bearers in MLS, we want to be a successful club on and off the field.”
Precourt added that the Crew — which has been playing in Columbus since 1996 — will need to see a “dramatic change” in attendance.
The team currently plays at MAPFRE Stadium, which was the first soccer-specific stadium opened in the MLS in 1999. It can seat 19,968 people.
The squad won the MLS cup in 2008 and reached the finals in 2015 but lost to Portland.
Precourt purchased the team and stadium for $68 million in 2013. According to massivereport.com, the Crew has a 25-year lease to play in the stadium, that won’t expire until 2023.
With one week remaining in the regular season, Crew SC’s attendance ranks 20th out of 22 teams in MLS.
The potential move to Austin would involve playing in a temporary stadium for two seasons until a new venue is completed around 2021.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther stated a meeting with Precourt and club officials to find a way to keep the team in Columbus was not fruitful.
“Unfortunately, we did not receive full engagement from the team’s ownership,” the mayor said in a statement. “We were surprised to learn of their decision in this way. Losing the Crew to another city would be a huge disappointment to their loyal and growing fan base in Columbus.”
In August, the MLS registered two trademarks for club names: Austin Athletic and Austin FC.
Crew SC last beat Orlando City 1-0 on Sunday and next visit New York City FC on Sunday.
COMMERCE CITY, CO – JUNE 03: Justin Meram #9 of the Columbus Crew SC kicks a shot on goal against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on June 3, 2017 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)