Following a meeting of Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther
and Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer
in New York with MLS commissioner Don Garber
and Crew SC investor-operator
, Ginther and Fischer issued a statement that they were disappointed they could not secure a commitment from Precourt's Precourt Sports Ventures to keep the team in Columbus.
Precourt Sports Ventures has been exploring the possibility of moving Crew SC to Austin, possibly as soon as in 2019. Ginther and Fischer statement:
“We met with Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber and Columbus Crew SC
owner Anthony Precourt in New York today. It is clear the MLS and ownership did not come to the meeting willing to commit to staying in Columbus. We know this is heartbreaking for the dedicated fans
in Columbus and across the country who have shown unwavering support for the Columbus Crew SC.
"We are disappointed and frustrated. We were united in putting all options on the table,
with the expectation in return that the MLS and ownership would cease pursuing moving the team to Austin. Great American cities do not get into bidding wars over sports teams to benefit private
owners. Garber and Precourt were not willing to do that today.”
"Once the league and owner are committed to Columbus, we stand ready, willing and able to support the team's success."
Precourt Sports Ventures soon followed with a statement of its own:
“Precourt Sports Ventures and Major League
Soccer met this afternoon in New York City with Mayor Ginther and Alex Fischer, at the request of the city, in anticipation of being presented an actionable plan and a legitimate offer that would
advance efforts to improve Crew SC’s long-term ability to operate and compete in Columbus. Both PSV and the league entered the meeting with open minds, no demands and a complete willingness
to listen and entertain concrete ideas or a meaningful proposal from the city’s representatives at the meeting.
"We were extremely disappointed that no concrete offer or proposal
was presented and that the City of Columbus then told us that it would not communicate with us past today.
"Precourt Sports Ventures made a clear commitment to Columbus four years ago by
purchasing 100 percent of Columbus Crew SC. In the meantime, despite successful efforts to reinvent the brand and improve the Club, market challenges for Crew SC in Columbus continue to
"Despite the city’s refusal to make a real offer and its decision to cease conversations, we remain open to a productive dialogue if the City of Columbus
reconsiders. Columbus Crew SC remains focused on our quest to win MLS Cup.”