When the #SaveTheCrew movement began, it was a group of fans doing everything within their power to help keep the soccer team they support in the town they reside.
What this group didn’t have at the time was the help of powerful people with the ability to make something happen. That has changed.
Since Anthony Precourt announced the possible relocation of Columbus Crew SC to Austin, TX, the movement has grown. Not only has there been support from clubs across the country, even the globe, but Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther and President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership Alex Fischer have become major proponents of keeping Major League Soccer’s first club in Columbus.
On Nov. 15, Ginther and Fischer met with Precourt and MLS commissioner Don Garber in New York City. Both sides left disappointed with what the other had to offer.
Reports came out that Ginther and Fischer’s various offers to purchase the club from Precourt were turned down and they were told by MLS the city could get involved in the expansion chase.
On Wednesday, hours before Crew SC takes the field in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Final against Toronto FC, Ginther released a message discussing a letter sent to Precourt recapping that meeting in efforts to continue the Save the Crew conversation.
About the Crew
Successful community investments are done through partnerships. Smart Columbus, Scioto Greenways, Columbus Commons, the Reeb Center, American Museum on Natural History and the National Veterans Memorial Museum are all examples of public and private entity’s ability to collaborate.
The Columbus Crew SC could be another such success. The business community, loyal fan base and public institutions stand ready to begin turning this partnership into a reality.
Today, Alex Fischer, President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership, and I sent a letter to MLS and owner Anthony Precourt, recapping our discussion in New York.
Imagine a bustling “stadium central” Downtown, with three professional sports arenas right in the heart of the city. Or envision a riverfront stadium on the Southwest Side, with ample park land to develop. Or what if we started fresh where the stadium is now, with a new state-of-the-art stadium adjacent to a destination entertainment district? And picture if the Crew was partly owned by the fans – the lifeblood of the team’s support.
But partnerships are a two-way street. We need a commitment from the Crew owner and MLS to keep the team in Columbus. We need to be able to operate in a good-faith environment – not compete with another city for the financial gain of the owner.
I believe in the Columbus Crew SC – and I believe they belong right here, in the capital of Ohio.
I believe there is a collaborative solution that works for everyone involved.
I believe professional soccer has a strong future in Columbus.
I believe. Do you?
What is clear from the above, and the letter sent to Precourt and Garber (see hyperlink above) is that there is support behind the efforts to Save the Crew and some plans it place to help it happen, if a commitment to the city is made.