City Leaders Respond to Columbus Crew Relocation Announcement
Earlier today, Columbus Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt announced that he was exploring plans to relocate his soccer team, either into a new stadium in Columbus, or to another city — most likely Austin.
“Despite our investments and efforts, the current course is not sustainable,” said Precourt. “This Club has ambition to be a standard bearer in MLS, therefore we have no choice but to expand and explore all of our options.”
City leaders in Columbus are not happy about the news. Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther issued the following statement earlier today via social media:
“I have met with the owner and business partners of Columbus Crew SC and shared our thoughts on ways to find the best solutions to keep the team in Columbus. Unfortunately, we did not receive full engagement from the team’s ownership. 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.”
Alex Fischer, President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership — an organization that represents most of the major businesses and organizations in the city — also issued a press release on the news.
“Today, we stand firmly with the Columbus Crew SC team, players, fans and our city, states Fischer. “Like others, we were disappointed to learn the Columbus Crew SC owner has engaged in conversations with Austin and the MLS for the past year and has now chosen to publicly bid Columbus against Austin. Despite this, we will not let our emotions override our primary resolve – and that is to do anything within reason to help ensure Crew SC remains and succeeds in Columbus.”
Fischer goes on to explain that civic and business leaders have played a role in working to make the Crew SC more economically viable in the city by assisting with new sponsorships and helping to plan a new stadium location.
“Let’s not let our emotions get in the way of supporting our team. When the playoffs begin, I’ll be in my seat supporting the players who have made Columbus proud,” adds Fischer. “In the meantime, we will continue to explore any and every sensible opportunity to ensure the team stays in our great city. We absolutely believe that the right circumstances exist for the Crew SC to be successful in Columbus.”