A day after Precourt Sports Ventures bought the Crew, news continued to trickle out that filled out the picture. The purchase price, MLS expansion, and even a more responsive team president all help make a little more sense of how PSV's major investment will affect the Crew.
After Anthony Precourt declined to talk numbers yesterday, Forbes Sports and Money reported that PSV purchased the team and stadium for $68 million. That price would be the highest price paid for an existing MLS franchise and show considerable growth from a team that was valued at $23 million in 2008 by Forbes Magazine.
The rise is not surprising given the brisk business in ownership transfers the league has seen in recent years. Erick Thohir and Jason Levien purchased a 60% controlling share to invest and operate D.C. United in 2011; the deal put the value of the franchise at $50 million. Similarly, the Dynamo were valued at $45 million after their partial sale to Oscar De La Hoya and Brenner International in 2008. Neither transactions included stadiums.
The most comparable sale with any data would be the 2007 sale of the Chicago Fire and Toyota Park with an estimated purchase price of $30-$35 million. The Hunt's sale to PSV would confirm the rising price of getting into MLS.
The second big news item in the league is that Don Garber announced that the league plans to expand to 24 teams by 2020. New York City FC is scheduled to join in 2015 after spending $100 million in expansion fees. Beyond that, cities such as Orlando, Miami, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Detroit are angling to get involved in the league.
This news decreases the chances that the league would move a team when they could promote competition for the few expansion slots that are up for grabs. The Crew's chances of relocation dropped further near zero with this news.
With the ownership transfer now complete, there are signs change in the front office too. Mark McCullers recently talked to Adam Jardy of the Dispatch and admitted that he understands the fans angst at the performance of Robert Warzycha.
I get it. Obviously this (new ownership) was something that we were focused on here recently, but the results are not acceptable to anybody... Yeah, the anxiety level has increased - and with good reason. - McCullers
That's certainly a different tune that just a few weeks ago when the team was in the midst of a couple of important Eastern Conference games, both of which they lost.
It will take more than a day to understand the full effect that PSV's purchase will have on the team and Columbus, but today the news was a little more optimistic.