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Update: The Crew SC Could End Up Staying in Columbus After All

Walker Evans Walker Evans Update: The Crew SC Could End Up Staying in Columbus After AllPhoto by Matt Ellis.
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One of the biggest news stories to break in 2017 was the heartbreaking announcement that Columbus Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt was exploring options to relocate the team, most likely to Austin. After conversations between city leaders and MLS representatives were essentially deemed a nonstarter, it seemed that the writing was on the wall, despite the massive local surge behind the #SaveTheCrew movement.

But it’s starting to look like the team could stick around after all.

Last Friday, the Austin American-Statesman reported that Precourt was backing away from one of the most prominent relocation sites in the city, and other sites identified in Austin as possible locations have already been nixed due to their lack of proximity to the center of the city.

Meanwhile, representatives with both the MLS and the Crew have softened their stance on keeping the team in Columbus, starting the process of re-engaging discussions with city leaders. WOSU reported last week that MLS Commissioner Don Garber stated that alternatives in Columbus were being explored.

Keeping the Crew SC in Columbus isn’t fully a done deal, and navigating that process is likely to continue to be rocky. Sports website TheComeback.com published a portion of a letter from Precourt Sports Ventures that attacks fans in Columbus for being responsible for disrupting their Austin relocation plans. And if the Crew doesn’t move to Austin, then their relocation clause might not let them go anywhere else, which could mean a tough relationship between an owner and fans that don’t get along.

One of the biggest questions still looming, is where the Columbus Crew SC would call home if they were to stay. The idea of building a new stadium at Dodge Park or Berliner Park has been floated to move the team to a more central location, although some locals have been vocal about giving up public parkland for a private development.

Stay tuned to CU for more as this story develops.

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