By JUSTIN FERGUSON
After 17-and-a-half seasons under the management of the Lamar Hunt family, the Columbus Crew are stepping into a new ownership era for the first time in club history.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Crew announced Precourt Sports Ventures, a sports investment group based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, had acquired the league charter member’s full operating rights, effective immediately.
“We have long believed in the ascension of soccer in the American sports-entertainment world, so stepping into a Charter Member of the League is an incredible moment,” PSV managing partner Anthony Precourt said. “We thank the Hunt family for having the trust in us to become the Crew’s new steward.”
Clark Hunt, chairman of Hunt Sports Group, said his family started looking for minority owners in the team a few years ago, but Precourt and PSV were interested in buying the entire franchise.
After owning charter franchises in Columbus and Kansas City, Hunt Sports Group will now be in charge of just one MLS team, FC Dallas. In Columbus, the late Lamar Hunt decided to build the league’s first soccer-specific stadium, opening Crew Stadium in 1999.
“Although we are very pleased to welcome Anthony to MLS, today is somewhat bittersweet for our family because of how much we love the Crew,” Hunt said in a statement. “On behalf of my entire family, I want to thank the city of Columbus, the state of Ohio, the Crew players, coaches and staff, and most importantly, the Crew supporters for cultivating one of the most iconic clubs in MLS and allowing us to be a part of it.”
At Tuesday’s press conference, Precourt said he was “very committed” to the city of Columbus. City mayor Michael B. Coleman said his first question to Precourt was if the team was staying in Columbus, to which Precourt responded, “Absolutely.”
Precourt said PSV had purchased 100 percent of the team. The former investment banker, who is a managing partner at investment company Precourt Capital Management, did not disclose the purchase price on Tuesday.
What do you think of this news? Excited to see new ownership in Columbus and MLS? Surprised to see the Hunt family sell another one of their charter franchises? Did you expect a different type of announcement from the Crew?
Share your thoughts below.