Columbus Crew owner sets end of June as Austin stadium deadline-ish-esque thingy

Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt is shooting to finalize a new stadium deal in Austin in June, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Or, well, not actually finalize per se, but maybe preliminarize:

Although June is not considered a drop-dead deadline for a deal, PSV officials said that some kind of agreement, such as a letter of intent, needs to be reached with the city by the end of next month. After a June 28 meeting, the City Council takes a summer break until Aug. 9. PSV aims to move the club by the start of 2019.

This isn’t actually much of a revelation at all, then — we’re gonna propose something in June, either approve it or don’t — but now that Precourt has picked out the city-owned land that he’s decided he wants but maybe doesn’t want to pay for, it does serve as a kind of two-minute warning, to let the Austin city council know that if nothing gets done by June 28, then … something. Something bad. And we know it’s working, because the American-Statesman summed things up with this one-line paragraph:

The clock is ticking.

That’s just what clocks do, man!

8 comments on “Columbus Crew owner sets end of June as Austin stadium deadline-ish-esque thingy

  1. By far the best part of this whole ordeal is that one of the main reasons for which PSV claims they are leaving is because they need a stadium in the urban core. McKalla place is farther away from the core than Mapfre.

  2. I was really getting into MLS no I’m out. To let this happen to an original team by an owner who is less than qualified just shows how amateur this league is. I also looked up his proposed stadium site in Austin and it’s no where near downtown! What a joke.

  3. Austin should charge him double for the land. He has burned all his bridges in Columbus. The Crew cannot stay in Columbus with Precourt as the owner. The hate for Precourt is now forever woven into the Columbus DNA. He either sells or goes to Austin. He doesn’t want to sell and he has turned down an offer to more than double his money. Austin is holding all the cards.

    • This is correct. He has zero leverage here since his only option if he wants out of Ohio is Austin per his contract with MLS (and his options for Columbus are limited due to how he approached this).

      Might as well get every dime out of him that isn’t nailed to the ground.

    • I hope you are right, JC.

      However, I remember the hatred for the Cavs and Dan Gilbert right after #23 left town… all the jersey burning and stuff like that. Great marketing tool as it turned out… all those pious folk who burned their James jerseys had to go out and buy new ones just a few years later.

      Seems like the fans got over it, doesn’t it? So if Precourt isn’t able to move to Austin (and I’d love for the city to drive a hard bargain with him), I have my doubts that Crew fans will turn their back on the team once it announces “great news, we’re not leaving this lousy stadium in a city we don’t want to be in after all”

      • Basketball and soccer appeal to different demographics, not to mention the differences between Cleveland and Columbus. The Crews fans have NOT lost their love for the team nor the players, but the owner has lied, repeatedly, and denigrated and alienated the fans. Have you been to Mapfre recently? In 12 years of attending games, I have never seen it so empty. Precourt have driven a wedge between the city and the team that cannot be healed. Sad part is how ridiculously unnecessary it was. Had Precourt been an adult and stated his “needs” and a reasonable timeline to achieve them, he would have had a city and fanbase that would have worked with him to achieve his goals. The Crew fanbase was responsible for packing the stadium during the playoffs. Precourt made no effort and, in fact, tried to discourage turnout by having fans wait over an hour to get thru “security checks”. He’s not merely a liar, he’s a coward. No, fans cannot forgive nor forget what Precourt has done. It’s clear he will not change. Look at how he barged into Austin demanding riverside parkland be given to him. It was only after the Austin city council pushed back that Precourt started to be “nice” to Austin. Now, Austin has offered land that doesn’t meet ANY of Precourt’s demands and Precourt knows he can’t fight it because he has nowhere left to turn. The guy has already tried to bully his Austin fanbase before the team has even had a chance to play there! Precourt is exhibit A why there SHOULD be a high estate tax. Spoiled little boy that inherited daddy’s money trying to bully and coerce two cities with all the grace and charm of a drunk baboon.

        • I don’t doubt Precourt’s aggressive mendacity and commitment to an alternative customer service experience.

          But none of that changes how sports fans generally operate. According to MLS attendance stats, the stadium has not been half full (but attendance has dropped by a couple of thousand over the past 2-3 seasons, and no wonder…).

          I would love it if fans voted with their feet and AP ended up in a forced sale (bonus points if it’s for less than he paid, but we all know that won’t happen) to a new owner. But I fear that Columbus sports fans will do what pretty much all other sports fans have done… which is line up hoping for an opportunity to lob their wallets over the fence as soon as “their” team comes back.

          We’ve seen it in all three of the major sports AND the NHL as well, both for individual franchises that were threatening to move and for leagues as a whole after strikes or lockouts.

          Fans say they are “done” with the team. But they almost never are. A big shout out here to Black Hawks (which the name was for 60 years) fans who did get so fed up with owner Bill Wirtz that they stayed away for decades, only returning after he had died.