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Crew president eases fears over potential Vegas move


It was a bit of a harrowing day for Columbus Crew fans on Tuesday amid reports that an ownership group that has been trying to land an expansion team in Las Vegas was buying a piece of the Crew. The speculation started to bubble and fear began creeping in about the idea of the Crew eventually leaving Columbus and moving to Las Vegas.

Crew president Mark McCullers moved quickly to ease those fears in an open letter to fans on the team’s official blog. The letter included the following excerpt:

1.  The Crew is not moving to Las Vegas, regardless of whether this transaction takes place or not.  We have an established stadium, a recent significant investment in our concert business here, a successful and growing youth development program, plans and interest in developing a world class training complex and many other long term strategic plans to facilitate the continued growth and prosperity of the club in Columbus.

That should help ease some of the fears of Crew fans. Considering how well the team is doing, and how the fan support is growing after some disappointing seasons by team on the field, the Columbus Crew isn’t a team that needs to be moved any time soon.

What do you think of the letter? Are you relieved? Disappointed that the Crew won’t be moving? Think the Crew is lying to keep fans from going crazy?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. MLS needs to nip in the bud any suggestion of moving franchises if they want clubs to build roots in their communities and build the league.

  2. Many Crew fans also follow the Cleveland Browns, and watched Art Modell move them to Baltimore. This happened despite the incredibly strong support of much of Ohio, and long string of sellouts. Teams move or stay based on greed, and nothing else. Fan support means squat. The Crew gets almost no media coverage in Columbus, and still has a strong fan base. But, most Columbus folks would rather watch an overrated Buckeye team crush overmatched opponents, and choke against decent competition, rather than a truly championship caliber Crew team. Go Crew! Your guys rock!

  3. I got to my first Columbus Crew game this year while on a business trip. I watched the Crew beat the hell out of NE Revolution and I thought the attendance was good (17,000) and it seemed like an honest estimate. While others on this blog have sneered at the “erector set” stadium I thought it was just fine. I was really impressed with the energy from the Hudson Street Hooligans and I think it would be a shame for them to lose their team to such a sleezy place as Vegas. Keep the Crew in Columbus.

  4. I think Columbus has the most to grow…

    In NJ, the fans will almost be FORCED to come as the stadium is within walking distance of a large portuguese/brazilian population…

    The Nordecke is cool and by next year, it’ll go all the way up the section and to the stage… Actually, every SG has seen some sort of improvement this year…

  5. Chris,

    You’re a like one trick pony using the same inaccurate stupid line (it’s the same one you used yesterday in the other story) and wishful thinking to try to make a point.

    Nevermind that others have disputed the attendance to be on average with most of the league and as good or better than that of teams in larger cities. Nevermind that that “erector set stadium” as you call it was the first of its kind for the MLS, built in a very short period of time so there was no time for frills (which I don’t get why you need so badly to go watch a soccer match that you find it worth repeating, and much older than any of the new “frilled” up stadiums so it is going to be different.

    Use wishful thinking all you want but the team is going nowhere and your points have no merit.

    What team do you follow that you think you can look down on the Crew with the opinion you have?

  6. @jloome

    All teams in this league lie about attendance, Crew have stopped because they got caught. I was at the Crew revs game in NE and there couldn’t have been more than 8,000 people and yet on their site they announced 15,000. Also Scarborough Sports Marketing just rated Columbus as the number 1 sports city in the US. Columbus is the largest city in the state and is the only one gaining population.

    The Crew’s attendance have been on par with the rest of the league and we have even out drawn NYC on several occasions this year. Not to mention the explosion of the Nordecke which is now one of the largest supporters sections in this league. As a Season ticket holder and die hard fan I am in no way relieved by this statement, it just feels like what happened to seattle with their okc owner.

    The Columbus Dispatch has a great artcle that basicly sums up how I feel…

  7. Did anyone see the words “minority interest” in the article? Even if the Vegas Group wanted to move the team to Vegas, they couldn’t unilaterally do so. Perhaps Garber told them that MLS would not award an expansion team to Vegas? Therefore, buying a piece of the Crew may be the only way the Vegas Group can become investors in MLS.

  8. i don’t buy the denial. This team is as good as gone to Vegas if they buy in. Columbus draws flies and they play in a small market with a no frills erector set stadium. Bye Bye Columbus.

  9. As a Crew fan I am worried, BUT this year shows that if they put a winner on the field, people will come. The attendance hasn’t been the best in the league (still repectable), but the people bashing their (Crew) attendance better be from Chicago or LA…because the only thing more embarrassing than Columbus’ attendance is that of NE and NY. As a fan of the MLS, it is disgusting to see 2 ofthe big market teams draw about the same as the Crew. And we wonder why people in different countries think the league is a joke.

  10. Wow, lots of delusional Crew fans posting, obviously. This is a team that had to fake its ticket numbers earlier this year to get an average of over 10,000 and was CAUGHT by the Columbus dispatch, red handed. So the suggestion that it doesn’t have problems is just delusional.

  11. @Hudson_Street:

    “As a die-hard supporter, I would never bet against my team. Add to that NO ONE is a native to Las Vegas. If there are any…they are working the casinos. Vegas doesn’t need a team.”

    You’re looking at a native Las Vegan who has never worked a day of his life in a casino, ever been to a Celine Dion show (in fact, most of the people I know rarely ever go to the strip, because we’re not tourists; we live here), or any of the other ridiculous statements you made. Before you run your mouth off with useless dribble, try learning more about what you’re making claims about.

  12. The stadium plans look promising but the fan base doesn’t. I’m not buying it for a second that people in KC will all of a sudden care about soccer once they move into an SSS. I will gladly clean the egg off my face if I’m wrong but I’m not seeing it.

  13. This just in…

    DC United is being courted by billionaire T. Boone Pickens. Pickens wants to buy the team and move it to Okla. City.

    That makes about as much sense as The Crew moving to Vegas. What did Garber stress earlier this year? Passionate fan bases. Where’s the passion in a city that would cheer when LV goes down by a goal, because the covered the spread?

    As a die-hard supporter, I would never bet against my team. Add to that NO ONE is a native to Las Vegas. If there are any…they are working the casinos. Vegas doesn’t need a team.

    The average American family will want to go to a Celine Dion show, or a bachleor party will do the clubs. What tourist from Chicago, NYC or LA will say…”hey I’m in Vegas, let’s go watch some soccer” ? Dude they can see that back home. They be on the strip.

    Paul Calaguri is a flaming liar. You sued the league to stay out of Columbus, now you want to buy a part of the club!?! Moron.

  14. The only team that needs moving is Chivas USA.

    Kansas City would’ve been a possibility, but the stadium plans look promising.

  15. i have no interest in a team from vegas. i still haven’t seen what the draw whould be to have an mls team there. someone please explain the draw to LV besides some inverstors having some money. it seems like such a transient city that would have difficulty maintaining proper support for a team.

    and that heat and possible fake grass. cmon.

  16. The professional sports road is littered with new owners who promised to keep the team in the city and then ended up moving it. The Columbus supporters have reason to be uneasy.

  17. Ives, I truly dont understanding AEG selling 49% of Dynamo to GoldenBoy and this Hunt deal with the Vegas group. Are these short-term cash grabs by AEG and HSG? Why would these original owners want “partners” when theyve been doing things ok? Are these new investors taking part in “try-outs” to see if they can one day be full-fledged owners? I am suspicious of HSG here. They never had partners before, why are they doing it now? Thanks.

  18. Good to hear. For the long-term stability of the league the Crew needs to stay put. With the tanking economy, especially in boom-bust Sun Belt areas like Las Vegas, I couldn’t imagine the logistics of a move like that working out for the team or the league.

    Now the Crew needs to look at and address the underlying weaknesses in the club that made a deal like this seem viable. As previous posters have noted the club has been undermarketed and hasn’t taken full advantage of the wide area and large population they could draw from. Of course, Schelotto’s breakout MVP-caliber year and the emergence of Rogers and Moreno and the addition of Noonan has helped lift the franchise to new levels this season on the field but now the club needs to sustain that effort and commitment to reach out to solidify its young, growing and rowdy fan base. DC United has been able to turn its success into long-term, deep-rooted fan support with steady growth and consistent attendance. It’s time for the Crew organization and fans to get the word out to sports fans around Ohio and neighboring areas that this is a viable and competitive franchise worth supporting over the long haul.

  19. look up Jim Balsille and Nashville Predators

    Crew fans are right to be concerned. The Vegas group’s purity of interest makes no sense and does Columbus no good in moving towards a non-absentee owner.

  20. No offense to the Buckeye State but I think I’d rather go to Vegas for a road game than Columbus.

    Oh wait – you mean the decision isn’t going to come down to what I WOULD WANT?

    Well, with that in mind I guess keeping a charter member of MLS in the market with the first SSS probably is the way to go.

    But I still say it’s easier to convince the Mrs. to spend the weekend at the Venetian than at the Columbus. (Look honey, we got to stay in the Mario Gori room!)

  21. I don’t think I ever believed that the Crew would move to Las Vegas, regardless of the group interested in buying a percentage of the team. What bothers me about their interest is that, even if they acquire a percentage of the Crew, they’d still be interested in putting another team in Nevada, resulting in another ownership group involved with more than one franchise.

    As for the President’s references to their investments in Columbus and the Crew, that’s a good sign. I’ve never been a big fan of watching the Crew, but their team is playing the best soccer in the league right now, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt the League to have a club win MLS Cup for the first time.

    Of course, that’s assuming United can’t get their act together, because if DC makes the post season, I want the Crew and Chicago knocked out immediately.

  22. “The investors would not move the team, he said, and Hunt Sports would continue to run the organization.”

    This was said in the orginal article posted on BS. Where did all the worrying about the team moving come from.

    The investors are just getting one foot in the door , so that they can get a team to Vegas before the team number maximum is met.

  23. They would be stupid to move from Columbus to Las Vegas. Columbus is only growing in population while Vegas with the recent subprime fiasco is losing population at a rapid rate. Plus they have a dedicated stadium with a good team. If the new ownership tries to move them, Garber has to step in and stop it. The last thing the league needs is a team in an established stadium and supportive city moving to play in a desert outpost.

  24. Columbus fans have really stepped up their game since the team started winning. Hopefully if things don’t go so well next year they will be back


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