Columbus, OH (October 12, 2018) — It appears that the Columbus Crew have indeed been saved.
According to reports, an ownership group that includes Jimmy Haslam who also owns the NFL’s Cleveland Browns will purchase the club from Anthony Precourt. Precourt will, in turn, be able to maintain his ambitions of having a club operate in Austin, TX.
Breaking #SaveTheCrew news: a group that includes the Haslam Family are acquiring the Columbus Crew, keeping the team in the city.
More to come in @sbjsbd shortly.
— Ian Thomas (@byIanThomas) October 12, 2018
Report: Jimmy Haslam Will Acquire Columbus Crew From Anthony Precourt
Details remain sketchy at the current writing. But the likely scenario involves Columbus receiving an “expansion” franchise with Haslam paying the associated fee to MLS. In addition to getting his wishes to move to Texas, Precourt will receive a payout for operating the Crew during his ownership of the team, per Miki Turner of SoccerEsq.com.
The news, if true, concludes a saga nearly a year in the making. It began on October 17, 2017, when Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl tweeted that Precourt intended to move the Crew to Austin primarily due to the inability to get a new stadium built in Columbus. It didn’t take long for the uproar about such developments to morph into a movement.
That movement became synonymous with one of the most ubiquitous hashtags in the history of Twitter: #SaveTheCrew. It galvanized supporter groups across MLS who did not want to see an MLS original uprooted from the community it originated in. Over the course of the 2018 season, Crew road games included myriad messages of support from fans hoping there was a scenario whereby which the club stayed put.
The aforementioned reports indicated that Haslam will operate as the majority owner of the club. His minority partners remain unknown but there are hints that they have land on which to construct a new stadium. The Crew’s existing facility, MAPFRE Stadium, opened in 1999 and was the first soccer-specific stadium in MLS history.
All of it serves to vindicate the efforts of the #SaveTheCrew movement over the past year. It’s proof that the grassroots efforts of ordinary people can result in the right thing being done. In this case, it wasn’t necessarily to enact change but rather to respect the roots of America’s longest lasting soccer league that has aims of becoming one of the world’s best.
What transpired on October 12, 2018, will prove historic in that regard.
— Save The Crew (@Save_The_Crew) October 12, 2018