The relationship between Columbus Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt and the city of Columbus went from chilly to frozen, but there has been a recent thaw according to an article in Columbus Business First on Friday afternoon.
The relationship reached its nadir after the mid-November meeting between the city, the Columbus Partnership, Don Garber, and Precourt ended with both sides pointing fingers.
The potential move to Austin, Texas has hit many bumps along the way, and it appears Mr. Precourt is evaluating his options. Fierce push back from Save The Crew and various fan bases around Major League Soccer have caused a public relations headache for commissioner Don Garber.
“Clearly things aren’t going well in Austin,” Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer told Columbus Business First. “I’ve tried to keep the emotion out of it ... but we care about this team. We are constantly looking for any opportunity we’ve got to try to create the best possible situation” for the team.
According to Fischer, Anthony Precourt has agreed to preliminary conversations with the city “city leaders here and with local investors interested in keeping the soccer team in town.” Fischer calls this development “encouraging,” and that the team “could benefit from local involvement.”
In Novemeber, BrewDog owner James Watt purposed an idea in which he would buy the team and sell it back to the community, similar to the ownership structure of the Green Bay Packers in the NFL. Major League Soccer reportedly didn’t let that idea get off the ground.
Despite talks between the city and Precourt Sports Ventures stalling, the Save The Crew movement pressed on.
Fischer spoke highly of the grassroots movement as he praised the fans and the 250 businesses that support the cause. “The whole country is impressed with #SaveTheCrew,” Fischer said in the article. “It shows the passion of the fan base... the enthusiasm is infectious.”
Given the lack of engagement between Precourt and the City of Columbus, the fact that both parties are willing to talk is an encouraging next step.