'Heartbreaking' for Crew fans: Reaction of Columbus backers to MLS talks

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 Anthony Precourt, 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 mount. 

"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.”

11 comments about "'Heartbreaking' for Crew fans: Reaction of Columbus backers to MLS talks".
  1. I w Nowozeniuk, November 15, 2017 at 9:41 p.m.

    Garber has a hedge fund mentality and with it he shall implode.

  2. uffe gustafsson, November 15, 2017 at 10:44 p.m.

    Real offer from the city?
    i assume that mean tax payers money?
    why is it tax payers pony up money to for profit proffetional teams. Not really understand that.
    sure if a city have property that can be used for a small fee for a certain amount of time then fine.
    what business owner expect the city to pay for their opening of the business.
    if you don’t have the money then get investor to bring the money in and now you own the stadium.

  3. Gary Levitt, November 16, 2017 at 6:36 a.m.

    There are always three stories, in this case, four: the City, PSV, the MLS, and the REAL story.  Very disappointing for the city of Columbus and all the Crew supporters, sponsors, and partners.  Correct me if I am wrong - did PSV's purchase contract provide for a clause allowing PSV to move to Austin, TX?  I believe so.  The 2018 season is going to be very strange for the Crew.

  4. :: SilverRey :: replied, November 16, 2017 at 1:36 p.m.

    Garber was there when Precourt signed the contract, which stipulated that the Crew could not move for 10yrs min. This contract had an escape clause stating that the team could be moved if it went to Austin. Don Garber is as fully complicit in this debacle as PSV.
    .
    Along those lines, Garber and Precourt have met at SXSW stating how wonderful the millenials were there, Precourt had Austin Aztex as our USL parter in 2015, they started up #MLS2ATX last year, et al.
    .
    And yes, 2018 is definitely going to be strange.

  5. Gus Keri, November 16, 2017 at 8:43 a.m.

    MLS is a business enterprise, first and foremost. Clubs' fans, soccer in general, US soccer, USMNT all come last. Live with it.

  6. :: SilverRey :: replied, November 16, 2017 at 1:53 p.m.

    I assume you approve all corporations that move out of the US chasing $$$ as well. What about the Panama/Paradise Papers tax havens - those were 'purely business' decisions.

    This is an immensely short sighted point of view - we aren't talking widgets here. Buying a sports team is entering a social contract with every fan involved. Precourt's whim to have a team in Austin disregards the wishes of Lamar Hunt (MLS/Crew foundeing father) who worked hard to get a team in CBus, disregards 22 years worth of fans, history & culture, disregards 100's of thousand kids playing in Crew development academies, disregards any companies that have partnered with the Crew past & certainly present, et al.

    Saying that he can just pick up his toy and leave any time he wants is the antithesis of fandom - it is the antithesis of 2 of the 3 stars on the MLS logo.


  7. Gus Keri replied, November 16, 2017 at 10:03 p.m.

    SilverRey, Don't assume any thing on my behalf. My statement is clear and you don't have to put words in my mouth. We are talking about soccer in America. If MLS didn't behave like a business enterprise in a smart way, it would have been shut down long time ago. You put money in business to make money. fandom is important to grow any sport business to a certain limit. When fandom alone con't keep business alive, business will move on to another place or go bankrupt. We have seen it all over the country and in many sports. Remember the original San Jose Earthquake that moved to Houston? or Tampa Bay and Miami teams that went out of business? In the USA, soccer can't depend on fandom alone. We don't have that tradition yet like in Europe or South America.

  8. R2 Dad replied, November 17, 2017 at 12:22 a.m.

    You seem to be happy taking this lying down. I am not. If garber was smarter, he would buy out the owner and find another ownership group that will keep them in Columbus. If Sunil was smarter, he could come up wiht a creative way to block this deal. This isn't the NFL, based on 8 home games per year. This is an investment in the city and fans and if an owner can't swing it, let MLS be the owner of last resort. What's the fan benefit to having single entity if the one thing MLS can do to alleviate this problem is never demanded?

  9. Gus Keri replied, November 17, 2017 at 9:44 a.m.

    R2 Dad, why do you start your comment with a stupid statement? Just like what SilverRey did. The answer is: "No, I am not happy taking this lying down." FYT, I signed the petition to save the Crews. But I am a realist. And knowing how MLS doing things since its inception, I don't have hope for the Crews staying in Columbus. Only the people of Columbus can help. I mean the fans and the political power in the city. It will require a drastic decisions on their parts. 

  10. aaron dutch, November 16, 2017 at 6:49 p.m.

    Once the MLS reaches its 40 teams in 15 years all the teams have done their Multi-Level Marketing Amway (sorry an insult to Amway:) buy ins. Then the fun begins teams moving for extra deals MLS will get "MLS Moving Tax" $25-75m per move to make it easy. I bet by 2040 there will be at least 15 teams that move to get an extra $750m moving tax and another 25 teams get sold and a "MLS Sale Tax" of a $100m to get another $2.5bn into the MLS Amway fund. 


    MLS will find ways to suck out at least $400m a year through selling MLS/USL Amway teams, Relocation taxes, Resell Taxes, Weird MLS wide debt deals with private equity, sponsorship, TV. This will get each team the $10m a year they need to get proped up and the team can get its $10m in local sponsorships, tickets, weird debt deals, backroom BS. 

    They only care about getting each team their $20m they need to run a year everything after that is gravy. That is why the product doesn't matter, standards, supporitng the national team, nothing.

  11. R2 Dad replied, November 17, 2017 at 12:29 a.m.

    This whole concept of teams playing musical chairs, moving from city to city, has hurt the NBA and NFL--why would MLS follow the same path? Do you know how butthurt Seattle Sonics fans are? Earthquakes fans? Why would leagues encourage the burning of bridges, when TV viewership is everything? They don't care about it--until they do. Maybe Roger Goodell should talk to Garber about the transient nature of butthurt fans.

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