It’s small, but there is a new sign that the #SaveTheCrew movement is working.
According to a report out of the Columbus Business First, Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt has held “preliminary” conversations with local potential investors in recent days. This is a big step because after a contentious meeting in New York between the Columbus Partnership and both Precourt and MLS, it appeared Precourt was prepared to move the team to Austin, no matter the response from Columbus.
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Now, there’s a chance, even if it’s slight, that the team could change hands and remain in Columbus, where it’s been since Lamar Hunt owned the team and it was the first club formed into the then-brand new MLS.
“The whole country is impressed with #SaveTheCrew,” Alex Fischer, CEO of Columbus Partnership told Columbus Business First. “It shows the passion of the fan base … the enthusiasm is infectious. Clearly things aren’t going well in Austin,” Fischer said. “I’ve tried to keep the emotion out of it … but we care about this team. We are constantly looking for any opportunity we’ve got to try to create the best possible situation” for the team.
MLS commissioner Don Garber spoke on the record earlier this week with Sports Illustrated, outlining how Austin came into the contract Precourt signed when he bought the Crew, and how much has changed in the years since.
Precourt announced last October, on the eve of the Crew’s playoff run, that he would look to move the club to Austin in 2019 if a new stadium wasn’t built for him – or a stadium site found for him – closer to the heart of downtown in Columbus. MAPFRE Stadium is located about five miles north of downtown Columbus.