Columbus Crew looking into new stadium, not saying who’d pay for it

Looks like the owners of the Columbus Crew are moving ahead with plans to replace their 17-year-old soccer stadium, hiring Barrett Sports Group LLC (who worked for Sacramento on a new arena for the Kings, among other projects) to “evaluate the potential demand for a new multipurpose soccer stadium in Columbus,” surveying fans as to what they’d like in a new stadium.

All of which is fine: If the Crew owners think they’ve outgrown their 20,000-seat stadium, then sure, look into building a bigger one. (Not they’ve completely been selling out the old place, but maybe they think more fans would turn out if the stadium had more steak bars or something.) The bigger question, obviously, is who would pay for a new or upgraded stadium, and nobody’s breathing a word about that. Or about when Barrett will complete its survey. Count on this one dragging out a bit longer — Crew execs have already been talking about this for more than three years, after all — but don’t be surprised to see stadium talk heat up in the next year or so.

10 comments on “Columbus Crew looking into new stadium, not saying who’d pay for it

  1. To be fair, what was once called Columbus Crew Stadium was the first of MLS’ purpose-built yards and while it IS only 17 years old, it’s an erector set.

    There is no comparison between its current lifespan and, say, where the Texas Rangers play, which is five years older but not necessary to replace yet.

    This is basically Frank Youell Field.

    • Yeah, but it’s also already built. To build more than an erector set would cost, what, $200 million at least, right? I know interest rates are low right now, but would a new stadium generate $15-20m a year more, after operating costs, than what they’re getting now? I guess that’s what Barrett is supposed to be finding out.

    • I agree it was basically an experimental stadium but as I recall, it was built to be expandable. I would assume it could be upgraded a bit which will get what they need and be cheaper. I think I would like a roof over more of the seats (such as they have at most of the newer soccer stadiums). But t bet honest, the last time I was there was in 2003 so I am not sure how it has held up (I’ll be there next month for the Mexico qualifier)

      • It was built with private funds, IIRC, so it’s what you get when you have a MLS team paying $28 million on a soccer experiment in the late 90s. Field, stands (some covered), concessions, and no giant lightning bolts or jumbo-mega-trons.

        They can always explore asking to use Ohio Stadium, once again. That place was home for several years but it’s a grass field, not turf like CenturyLink/that Seahawks-Sounders stadium.

  2. I suspect all of the “demand for a new multipurpose soccer stadium in Columbus” is coming directly from the owners suite, and Barrett will report that demand to be overwhelming.

  3. Location × 3 !….Is the new Wall Street owner really going to do nothing while the the city and county bought the other team in town an arena and provides 12 million a year in operating subsidies. There are at least 10-15 cities that would welcome this team. The other team only had Winnipeg waiting.

  4. Last I checked, cities aren’t paying for minor league soccer stadiums. DC got a subsidy for land and Minny got a kickback on taxes for materials, but those deals still involved the team owner spending nine figures.

    Crew may get some public money, but I don’t see what leverage they’d have if they threaten to move.

  5. Well the jackets had no leverage but got everything they wanted. Nashville and Charlotte have both talked of offering public funds to push them higher up the expansion list. Instead of Winnipeg it was Quebec waiting in the wings. Still coming down from the high of the hockey world cup where 6 countries showed up.

  6. BTW , if nobody plays the game is it really major league. At least there are tax payers and children of tax payers playing soccer in Ohio !

  7. Why don’t they add capacity or add additional concession stands since the stadium is built and looks to be in usable shape. FWIW Toronto FC did this with BMO Field (expanded capacity and changed dimensions to work out a ground-share with the CFL Argonauts) rather than trying to soak Toronto taxpayers. That way Ohio taxpayers aren’t on the hook for something (between the Bluejackets and the Bengals deals I’d say they’re paying enough).