Crew To Move To Austin Barring New Downtown Stadium

Jacob Langston

The investor/operator of the Columbus Crew SC is considering relocating the team to Austin, Texas unless the city of Columbus can come up with a plan for a new downtown stadium, sources confirmed to ESPN FC.

Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch suggested that talk of staying in Columbus was "standard practice for team owners who might want to move to keep hope alive for the purposes of selling tickets for a lame-duck season".

"So we are going through growing pains now, it's time for us to explore building a world class soccer specific stadium that we can be celebrated successful and sustainable", said Precourt. That doesn't necessarily rule out a future bond election for stadium financing, but even if Adler chose to expend political capital in that direction, it'd be a tall climb to actually make it happen: Austin voters are notoriously stingy when it comes to public works projects like roads and rails, and it seems unlikely that 51% of taxpayers would opt to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million (at least) for a stadium for America's fifth-favorite sport. Addressing the biggest question on the table, he said the team hadn't yet identified a stadium site, but he started and ended our talk by stressing that he wouldn't be looking for any public financing.

Precourt says he will use private money to build his new stadium.

Despite being the seventh-largest city in the country, San Antonio has neither a professional football or baseball team. We've had the application, I think, since last March. "That's a much tougher game", Wolff said.

"Austin FC" and "Austin Athletic" were registered by MLS as trademarks earlier this year. Matches reportedly will be held at the Circuit of the Americas near the amphitheater. "Despite Precourt Sports Ventures' significant investments and improvements on and off the field, Columbus Crew SC is near the bottom of the league in all business metrics and the Club's stadium is no longer competitive with other venues across MLS".

Officials with the city of San Antonio and Bexar County in February submitted an application to bring an MLS team to the Alamo City.

The language in that statement does hedge-it contains a lot of "possible" and "could" and "explore all of our options"-but that hasn't stopped both the Austin and sports press from suggesting that this is all but a done deal".

"We want clarification from MLS regarding the status of our expansion application in light of the news today from Columbus", stated Judge Wolff. "Meanwhile, we're looking forward to the playoff game on Saturday".

Team owner Anthony Precourt will be in Austin on Wednesday.

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