Last night in Austin, TX, the potential move of Precourt Sports Venture to relocate Columbus Crew SC to Texas’ capital city took another step when the city council unanimously voted to pass a resolution that instructs the city manager to find city-owned sits for a potential Major League Soccer stadium and practice facility.
Despite cold weather (by Texan standards) and poor traffic conditions, a modest crowd showed up at Austin City Hall to lend their support to the cause.
Decent-sized crowd starting to gather outside City Hall. #MLS2ATX scarves being handed out. #ATXCouncil pic.twitter.com/bu9z3sbU4f— Chris Bils (@ChrisBils) November 10, 2017
Then it was time to get down to business as the Austin City Council began the discussing the possibility of Major League Soccer coming to Texas.
Former Santos Laguna player Sonny Guadarrama speaking now. Compares the aura there to what he is seeing being built here. #MLS2ATX— Zach Smith (@ByZachSmith) November 10, 2017
Public commenter says that "if we're going to use parkland...let the citizens of Austin vote on that." Warns long-term lease (which wouldn't require citizens vote) could be costly on election day. #MLS2ATX— Andrew Erickson (@AEricksonCD) November 10, 2017
@LesliePoolATX says references to Columbus Crew SC should be struck from resolution. "I don't want to limit it to just one. I understand that is the one team that seems to be available now ... But I don't want to preclude any other teams or options." #ATXcouncil #CrewSC— Philip Jankowski (@PhilJankowski) November 10, 2017
Austin City Council member Ora Houston: "i would like to include other groups interested in Major League Soccer and expand area to include Travis County Expo Center.' #atxcouncil #MLS2ATX— Kevin Lyttle (@klyttleAAS) November 10, 2017
Precourt Sports Ventures lobbyist Richard Suttle taking questions. "This step tonight is we have an opportunity in ATX" to avoid expansion process which involves 12 other cities. "If there is one opportunity for a MLS soccer team, it is this one." #ATXcouncil #CrewSC— Philip Jankowski (@PhilJankowski) November 10, 2017
Kitchen said it would be a "disservice" to focus on stadium sites only in the urban core. Said it's premature to already make a decision in a specific part of town. #CrewSC #MLS2ATX— Andrew Erickson (@AEricksonCD) November 10, 2017
Richard Suttle now answering Leslie Pool, saying PSV would pay 100 percent for costs of stadium. 'i don't know how i can be any more broad about that.' #atxcouncil— Kevin Lyttle (@klyttleAAS) November 10, 2017
Richard Suttle, who will be a heavyweight in this Austin soccer battle, says there are 12 cities seeking MLS expansion franchise. there is one owner who wants to come to Austin. Suttle represents PSV, and he is a man who gets things done. #atxcouncil— Kevin Lyttle (@klyttleAAS) November 10, 2017
The resolution gives the city manager a deadline of December 7th to report back to city council on their findings.
So it's an early victory for @mls2atx and @MLSinAustin and major league soccer supporters in Austin. But a long, long, LONG way to go.— Kevin Lyttle (@klyttleAAS) November 10, 2017
Statement from Precourt Sports Ventures on Austin resolution passing: #CrewSC #MLS2ATX pic.twitter.com/k52RY63Cst— Andrew Erickson (@AEricksonCD) November 10, 2017
Perhaps one of the more controversial statements of the evening came from PSV attorney Richard Suttle who said: “We have an opportunity in Austin, Texas which there are 12 other cities in the country competing to get an expansion team exactly what we’re being offered here tonight (is) to not have go to through the expansion process,”
This statement resonated heavily on social media:
MLS allowing Anthony Precourt to waltz into Austin with an MLS team and bypass the expansion process is a slap in the face to every other owner who paid up and played by the rules.— Elizabeth Cotignola (@LaDiavolina) November 10, 2017
I don't typically consider myself an angry person. The few times in my life I've found myself feeling truly livid have been when I've felt a friend or family member is being personally attacked. The past 3+ weeks have been just that. Keep fighting like hell. #SaveTheCrew— Olivia Edinger (@Livia429) November 10, 2017
Good Morning, Austin. #SaveTheCrew pic.twitter.com/fXGcdi8DWM— Jay W. Riddle (@jay_riddle) November 10, 2017
One of the other interesting facets of the “MLS2ATX” movement is that the social media account for PSV seems to be operating behind enemy lines within the city of Columbus.
Several users pointed out the location tag in which MLS2ATX was looking to give a shirt away to a supporter and relay general information.
Maybe I'm late to this party, but realizing the "grassroots" #MLS2ATX movement is tweeting from Columbus... just another infuriating thing to add to the list #SaveTheCrew pic.twitter.com/z9wpZcnuuH— Ryan Harris (@ryharris13) November 10, 2017
November 10, 2017
Despite the news from Austin, fans are doing everything they can to keep the Black & Gold in Columbus. Even potentially gaining another powerful ally as James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog, offered his support to the #SaveTheCrew movement.
Hey @MayorGinther & @APrecourt & @cbuspartnership Lets talk & see if we can #SaveTheCrew This city needs it's soccer team! And we want to do all we can to help ensure the @ColumbusCrewSC stay right here!— James Watt (@BrewDogJames) November 10, 2017
These developments add a bit of intrigue to the meeting on Nov. 15th in New York City between MLS commissioner Don Garber, Anthony Precourt, Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer and Mayor Andrew Ginther.
One thing is for certain, this situation doesn’t seem to have a resolution in sight anytime soon and fans will have to continue to up the pressure in order to Save the Crew.