Remember when we did that April Fools cover where we said an MLS team was going to build a stadium? Mapfre Stadium, the home of the Crew, was built in 1999 and was the first soccer-specific stadium in MLS, but the stadium has not modernized or kept up with new soccer-specific stadiums across the league. He also reiterated a couple of times that he's only looking at "Downtown locations that are accessible to the most people possible", and added that he's spent a lot of time in Texas, and Austin, and thinks the Keep Austin Weird culture would be a ideal fit for the town's first major league sports team.
Even if the Columbus Crew doesn't pack their bags for the lone star state in two years, Austin is still expected to have at least one professional soccer team.
While this news seems like the city's best chance to land a franchise in one of the five major sports leagues (Austin is the largest metro area in North America without one), local soccer fans should not run out to start buying Austin Crew kits just yet.
Anthony Precourt, the CEO of Precourt Sports Ventures and the chairman of the Crew SC, has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday. "We recognize that private funding will be key in any stadium solution". Addressing the biggest question on the table, he said the team hadn't yet identified a stadium site, but he started and ended our talk by stressing that he wouldn't be looking for any public financing.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber expressed support for the possible move to Austin in a statement. Reports suggest UT-Austin's Mike A. Myers Stadium could be a temporary venue in 2019 and 2020, but Precourt said it's premature to say that at this point.
However, reports say MLS already has trademarks for team names in Austin.
In evaluating Austin, as with any new MLS market, a critical component is the stadium plan. "Despite PSV's (Precourt Sports Ventures) significant investments and improvements on and off the field, Columbus Crew SC is near the bottom of the League in all business metrics and the club's stadium is no longer competitive with other venues across MLS".
In 2008, the team won the MLS Cup.