Crew’s days in Columbus could be numbered

matt examiningsports

Anthony Precourt is challenging Jim Harbaugh as the most hated man in Columbus.

Precourt, the owner of the Columbus Crew, incited an uproar in the Central Ohio soccer community this week when he announced his plans to move the team to Austin, Texas, if he is not able to get a privately funded downtown stadium in Columbus.

Citing declining attendance numbers, Precourt said the team is not producing enough profit at its current Mapfre Stadium, which sits just a few minutes from downtown. 

Like the Columbus Clippers and Columbus Blue Jackets, Precourt believes his team needs to be in downtown in order to thrive.

It is confusing as to why he wants to move the team to Austin. While it is considered a vibrant city, the Austin American-Statesman reported this week that Austin has not embraced professional soccer in the past. 

The article also pointed out that the state’s other MLS teams in Houston and Dallas are struggling with their attendance numbers. The oppressive summer heat was one reason given for the lack of a strong fan base in Texas.

It would be a shame for the Crew to leave Columbus. Several of the area’s high school teams have worked with the club and played games at its stadium. Those are memories that I am sure will stand out to the players and coaches for a long time.

Columbus has worked hard to build up its offering of pro sports, and it would be unfortunate to take a step back. The Crew has developed a nice niche within the city. Having that be torn apart would be a big blow to the community’s sports scene.

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