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Crew SC begin looking at new stadium options

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A survey is the first public step for the team

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Columbus Crew SC Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC is in the early stages of considering a new stadium in Columbus after the team kicked off the process with a survey assessing the interest in a new stadium. Precourt Sports Ventures, the owner of Crew SC and MAPFRE Stadium engaged Barrett Sports Group to conduct the process. Barrett Sports has consulted with dozens of teams on and locations on sporting issues including Major League Soccer.

Previously, in 2013 Anthony Precourt had said that the team would love to have a stadium in the city core, but stated that was a long range goal. Since Precourt bought controlling interest in the team, Crew SC has invested in improving MAPFRE Stadium with a new video board, sound system, signage, and some facilities upgrades. The team had also requested $1.56 million from the state of Ohio during the last budget cycle, but that request was declined.

The first top-flight soccer specific stadium in the United States, MAPFRE Stadium is now 17 years old and is a product of compromise and thrift. Built as a bare bones steel and concrete structure in nine months, it doesn't boast the premium seating, concession options, or polish of newer stadiums that followed it's example and likely doesn't pull in the same amount of game day revenue as other facilities.

The team is obviously in early stages in assessing viability and retaining Barret Sports Group isn't indicative that a stadium deal is imminent. Crew SC has another 7 seasons on the original 25 year lease for the Fairgrounds site. The team has an additional 25 year lease on the site, but would likely have to invest significantly on the then aging facility. Crew SC is signaling they want to know what their options are going forward.