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MLS Ticker: Crew land new stadium deal; Red Bulls sign midfielder Sanchez; and more

Columbus Crew Stadium


After 16 seasons, Columbus Crew’s home stadium will have a new name above the door.

The Crew announced on Tuesday that global financial services firm MAPFRE Insurance has bought the stadium naming rights in the largest sponsorship deal in the club’s history. Now called MAPFRE (pronounced MAH-fray) Stadium, the first game under the new name will take place on March 14 against rivals Toronto FC.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with a world class company like MAPFRE Insurance and thank them for their support of Crew SC,” Anthony Precourt, Crew investor-operator and chairman, said in a club announcement on Tuesday. “We expect MAPFRE Stadium to become an even greater place for our growing fan base to cheer on Columbus’ original major league franchise for years to come.”

In addition to the naming rights, MAPFRE will sponsor the Crew community program, Give Forward. MAPFRE is now considered the club’s official auto, life and home insurance sponsor.

This is the second alteration to the Crew’s stadium since Precourt Sports Ventures began investing in the club. Ahead of last season, two new LED displays were added to the upper deck and seating was expanded during a renovation project.

Here is some more MLS news and notes for Tuesday:


As a fourth-round pick, Manolo Sanchez had a good bit of work ahead to earn a professional contract.

It appears he has done enough and the New York Red Bulls signed the former Clemson University midfielder on Tuesday. The club’s sporting director, Ali Curtis, said Sanchez earned his contract through his work in the preseason.

Sanchez’s biggest preseason contribution was the lone goal against USL-side Oklahoma City Energy FC in the IMG Suncoast Classic.

“Manolo has impressed us from early on,” head coach Jesse Marsch said in a club statement. “He’s a big, strong guy that runs well and has put himself in good positions. He has demonstrated he is physically and mentally able to play the way we want to play.”

Sanchez scored 10 goals and recorded 15 assists in 65 games for Clemson during his three years there. He was drafted 79th overall by the Red Bulls.


After lighting up the NAIA, Dzenan Catic now has a new permanent home.

The Bosnian striker and 31st pick overall in the MLS Draft was signed by Philadelphia Union late Monday. Catic, 22, has spent the past month trying to impress in the Union camp.

At 6′ 3″, Catic is another tall central forward for a Union roster that already has Connor Casey and C.J. Sapong. He scored 63 goals in two seasons with Davenport University in Caledonia Township, Mich.

Catic also spent time in the reserve squad of German second division team Kaiserslautern.


More Dallas television viewers will now get to watch the city’s soccer team in action.

FC Dallas President Dan Hunt announced via a Facebook chat on Tuesday that local station TXA 21 (KTXA) will broadcast 17 of the club’s 34 games this season over the air. This means anyone with an antenna in the Dallas vicinity can pick up the games, regardless of TV provider.

FCD had a two-year deal with Time Warner Cable, but figures showed only about 20 percent of DFW viewership had that service. In addition to the 17 games on TXA 21, 13 will be aired on national channels.

The four games left over will more than likely air on either TWC or local broadcaster Fox Sports Southwest, but the dates of those broadcasts have not been determined.


  1. I live in Ohio and love going to Crew games, but it’s only a few times a year to see the mega clubs n huge stars on other teams. I also think Precourt is in it to win it, but I’m still pretty bored with the stadium and on field talent. He needs to continue facility upgrades (the parking there is most absurd thing I’ve ever experienced), continue spending $$ on great talent (Higuan), and find a way to average 20k per game. Otherwise, boorrriiiing.

  2. The Crew SC stadium news is a fantastic development. In just a few months, Precourt has rebranded the club, signed a stadium deal, upgraded elements of the stadium, brought in a new business head, hired a new technical director and signed top talent. The previous GM couldn’t or wouldn’t do any of this with years to try. I haven’t been this optimistic about our club since 1999.

  3. We have seen MLS teams make cheap MLS soccer stadium and their fan base gets all excited and the most expensive stadium has been skc park and red bull and there won’t be more of those since MLS owners are cheap.
    Therefore, why doesn’t Columbus new owner, buy land around downtown and make a cheap soccer stadium like San Jose,dynamo, union, impact, tfc, Orlando and then “plan for upgrades and expansion” like all the teams say.
    We all know MLS owners will never spend as mush as NFl or even MLB do on their stadiums, so what’s the big deal. Garber loves high soccer stadiums,at least put them downtown.
    If Columbus gets a new stadium, they can be another skc. Too bad they kept the same name and now they are a “soccer club.”

    • Holy punctuation! Holy grammar! All kidding aside, I don’t disagree that at the very least the stadium needs a face-lift. The high school style bleacher seats, bathrooms, and other stadium facilities are out-dated when compared to the slick new soccer stadiums popping up. However, I’ve lived in Columbus since 2008, and I think CCSC would struggle to “buy land around downtown.” Columbus is a rapidly growing city and developers have been pumping money into downtown for new condos, buildings, highway overpasses, etc. Even if land were available, Precourt couldn’t just build a “cheap soccer stadium” like you suggest.


    TWC sucked for FCD, especially when a lot of smaller cities in the Metroplex have exclusivity deals with other providers like Charter or Verizon. TXA is a broadcast station so Dallas can expect the maximum amount of viewership.

  5. Henry retired, Cahill was uncommitted and useless last year, so we move forward. I’m starting to think things might not be so bad for NYRB, but no way in hell they get as close to MLS Cup as last year.


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