COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther announced he and other city leaders have scheduled meetings with Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt, and MLS Commissioner Don Garber in the upcoming weeks to discuss ways of keeping the team in the city.
In a release, Ginther said a rally held by Crew SC fans Sunday shows the support fans have for the club and their desire to keep the soccer team in the city.
Precourt announced last Tueday, he was considering moving the team to Austin, Texas.
Precourt, whose Precourt Sports Ventures has owned the Major League Soccer club since 2013, said the team is no longer sustainable and will make the move unless a new, privately-financed stadium is built in downtown Columbus.
Precourt says the team needs more fan and financial support to compete in the growing league, and a move to a stadium in an urban center is the only way to accomplish that goal.
According to documents provided to NBC4 by The Ohio Expo Center, Crew SC is bound by a lease of the land where Mapfre Stadium sits, until 2023.
Ginther said that over the weekend city leaders made contact with Precourt and Garber, and the two have agreed to meet in the upcoming weeks to discuss ways of keeping the Crew SC in Columbus.
“Until those meetings take place, we don’t expect to have anything new to report. We will keep our public comments focused on cheering on our beloved Columbus Crew SC during the playoffs,” Ginther wrote.
Crew SC fans have expressed optimism at the prospect of this meeting.
“I’m glad it’s happening and I can’t wait to see what happens next,” said Morgan Hughes. “It’s going to set the tone going forward, and I’m extremely optimistic about the outcome of that meeting.”
Precourt said the team will stay in Columbus for 2018, but its future beyond that is unknown.