Columbus Crew, the Major League Soccer team backers of Austin’s planned new stadium envisioned relocating to Austin, will likely remain in Ohio, KUT-FM reported Friday. According to the station’s website, a group led by the owner of the Cleveland Browns is negotiating to buy the team and keep it in Columbus. The team is currently owned by Precourt Sports Ventures, the group that in August struck a deal with the city for a new stadium to be built at McKalla Place, city-owned land in North Austin.
PSV head Anthony Precourt intended to move the Crew club to Austin, but grassroots opposition in Columbus, combined with recent support by MLS and the investor group’s move to purchase the team, makes that unlikely, according to KUT.
Precourt nevertheless intends to make Austin FC—the name already bestowed upon the currently hypothetical team—a reality, according to a statement by MLS, which supports the venture. “While timing for Austin FC is still to be finalized,” the statement reads, “we are confident that the team will begin play no later than 2021 at the new, privately financed stadium and soccer park at McKalla Place.”
The 20,000-seat stadium is expected to cost $190 million. Precourt would built the stadium and pay rent to the city, which would retain ownership of the land.