*Please check out the links in the story below. These publications have sourced comments on the story and can offer additional insight into the situation. – My reaction is below.
Shocking and disappointing are the first two words that came to mind when seeing the initial tweet from SI.com’s Grant Wahl and an initial story from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch.
According to these reports, Crew operator Anthony Precourt plans to move Crew SC to Austin Texas for the 2019 season if an agreement can not be made for a new downtown stadium to replace the aging Mapfre Stadium (formerly Crew Stadium).
In Grant Wahl’s piece on SI.com the Crew SC owner “expects public financing” for the project. Wahl also reported that there will be a press conference on Tuesday to announce the owner’s plans on a stadium in Columbus and Austin Texas. In his story, Wahl offers great insight and comments from city leaders within Columbus.
Arace also comments that the San Francisco based owner through Major League Soccer has registered “Austin FC” and “Austin Athletic” as trademarks. Through various reports online and on social media, it seems that Precourt may have been working towards an Austin project for quite some time. The Dispatch reports that the University of Texas may have a solution for the club.
Author’s Reaction – Bryan Weigel
Many in Cincinnati will be disappointed if Crew SC does move to Austin. Myself along with many in Cincinnati were introduced to the beautiful game through Crew matches. The magical Hell is Real Derby from this season’s US Open Cup run will go down as one of the most memorable matches many of us fans have ever attended. That match was celebrated by the league as to how strong regional rivalries will be in the growth of the league.
It’s a shame that could have been the one-and-only match between the two clubs.
I respect the supporters of Crew SC and what they have done to grow the game in our region. They are some of the best fans in MLS and hopefully, a solution will come that benefits them.
I may have a different opinion than several FCC fans or my CST colleagues, but I want Cincinnati and Columbus in the same league. I hate that them moving could potentially help my teams bid. As of right now it is tough for me to believe that Crew leaving Columbus would guarantee Cincinnati into the MLS as an expansion team. The ownership of FC Cincinnati still must come to the table with a great stadium plan to have a shot.
In my opinion, it seems that Precourt is looking to make the best “business decision” for himself. That is his right as owner, but I don’t have to like it. Cincinnati will have to put a good plan together in any case for MLS, so Columbus staying or moving could be irrelevant.
As FC Cincinnati supporters, let’s be respectful to what a Crew SC fan may be going through. No one likes to have their owner threaten to move their beloved team. They are facing a reality that could see them without their “Crew” in the near future. Here is to hoping that Precourt can make it work in Columbus so that both clubs can play each other for many years to come.
Tune into Tuesday night’s show for more reactions from myself and the guys. This story is a lot to digest and we encourage your calls during our live show.
Tuesday Night’s Show Guest: Harrison Delbridge
Join the guys Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. EST as they welcome 2017 Fan-Voted Player of the Year Harrison Delbridge on this week’s show! Leave your questions for Harrison below or on social media. The guys will also discuss the implications of this story any additional news that breaks on Tuesday. You can view the show LIVE on Facebook or on Youtube. Call in at 513-399-KICK (5425).