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Austin FC

Austin finalizes deal for new MLS stadium

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Officials in Austin, Texas, have finalized a partnership for a new 20,000-seat stadium for the eventual Major League Soccer club Austin FC.

The deal with PreCourt Sports Ventures will build a $225 million privately funded stadium on city land. It would be open spring 2021 when Austin FC is expected to start playing.

The stadium project was born out of Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt’s efforts to relocate the franchise to Austin. That plan drew fierce resistance from Crew fans as well as local and state officials in Ohio. The Crew is expected to stay in Columbus under a new ownership group led by Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam.

The Austin venue will be an open-air facility with a natural grass playing field built on land that has been vacant for 25 years.

Austin FC would be the first major league professional franchise in the Texas capital.

MLS, Precourt unveil Austin FC name, crest

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Major League Soccer is likely coming to Austin, and the Columbus Crew’s owners have released a name and logo for the team.

It’s not an awful logo by any means, with a decent color selection and the use of the”Texas Live Oak” tree, but it sure is hard to look past the tomfoolery used to (probably) tear a team from its fan base. It’s difficult to imagine a relocation being handled any worse.

[ RECAP: NYCFC 1-1 RBNY ]

Anyway, last week the Austin City Council approved Crew owner Anthony Precourt’s plans to build a stadium in Texas, and now Precourt Sports Ventures is bringing the goods on what goods it’ll be bringing south.

@MLS2ATX also released an explainer for the badge, including that the color is “Bright Verde,” which is English and Spanish for bright green. It’s a little like Seattle’s “Rave Green” except rave is English for rave.

Here’s how the Major League Soccer web site phrased the current situation between the Crew, Precourt, and Austin. It’s… awkward (and how could it not be. There’s reason to feel empathy for the writer).

PSV, which currently operates Columbus Crew SC, is exploring options to bring an MLS club to Austin.

“Given the historical and ongoing market challenges, Precourt Sports Ventures must prepare for every potential scenario for the Club in 2019 and beyond,” PSV said in a statement. “Should Austin be granted the requisite approvals ahead of the 2019 season, it will be imperative to launch with momentum and a presence to ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of the Club. Normal business operations shall continue in Columbus for the balance of the 2018 season where winning an MLS Cup remains the objective.”

The Austin Statesman also pointed out that the names Austin FC and Austin Athletic are owned by Major League Soccer, and that it was registered in August 2017.

Another group of people to feel empathy for might be Austin soccer fans, who are probably really excited about their new team and fancy new digs, but not at the expense of another club.

Precourt claims victory as Austin City Council approves stadium

Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images
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The Austin City Council voted 7-4 to approve a stadium planned by Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt, the latest step in Precourt’s bid to move the MLS franchise to Texas.

The stadium will be scheduled for a 2021 completion. USL side Austin Bold will begin play next season.

Precourt spoke briefly following the announcement, saying, “We’re bringing Major League Soccer to Austin, Texas” and clapping his hands.

[ MORE: All #SaveTheCrew news ]

The Ohio Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against MLS and Precourt Sports Ventures, claiming that moving the Crew to Austin would be illegal. That lawsuit’s day in court is still a few weeks away.

Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer says the city will continue its fight to “Save the Crew.”