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Report: Expansion presented as option for Columbus should Crew move to Austin

A recent meeting between Columbus Crew ownership, MLS leadership and Columbus officials left all involved frustrated. Now, details have begun to emerge regarding one potential possibility for what happens if a move to Austin goes through.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, it was suggested that the city of Columbus could apply for a new expansion team if the Crew were moved to Austin during a November 15 meeting between the parties.

Currently, 12 potential markets are vying for four expansion slots, with two set to be decided upon in December. It wouldn’t be the first time MLS returned to a market, as the league has left and then moved back for teams in San Jose, Los Angeles and Miami.

Following the meeting, Columbus leadership and Crew ownership expressed frustration with the talks. Precourt Sports Ventures says ownership sees a lack of planning from the city when it comes to providing what the Crew need to thrive while the city countered that they feel a perceived lack of commitment from the team and the league.


  1. Maybe I’m in the minority here but I think MLS should forget Columbus. Yes, they’re an original and yes, it’s a Lamar Hunt team (originally) but let’s face it. Columbus is Ohio State Football and not much else. I lived there for about a decade and, TBH, they don’t care enough. Stadium not up to par, market not desirable, fans rather stay home, warm, watching OSU on Saturdays that be cold watching Crew at Mapfre. They had a good run but like Eminem said, just admit it when it ends. Move it to Austin, accelerate the incorporation of Cincinatti FC into MLS and juat move on. Teams move all the time in pro sports. It’s the nature of the business

  2. People need to understand that mls is not a soccer league. Mls is an entertainment company that organizes soccer games for money. If taking a team somewhere else makes them more money then that’s what they’re going to do. The league is owned and ran by businessmen, not soccer people.

    • The top leagues in Europe are all run as businesses as well (Red Bull Leipzig? Salzburg? ownership changes happening all the time). It’s all about money. Nothing more. The only difference outside the U.S. is how much longer the sport has been around, which makes it difficult for the owners to do what they would really like to without pissing off supporters, the same way teams like the Yankees and Packers don’t stray away from tradition while still keeping their focus on the bottom line. Make no mistake, most every major professional team in the world is focused on making money.

    • “People need to understand that mls is not a soccer league. Mls is an entertainment company that organizes soccer games for money.”

      Wow, look out everybody, Rob has some great insight that none of us have ever considered. Professional soccer is entertainment? No kidding?! We’re watching grown men in shorts run around a field and kick a ball. It’s not like if they don’t perform well, someone doesn’t get rescued from a burning house or someone’s son doesn’t return from Afghanistan.

      Why don’t you stick to your lame commentary about the USMNT and how they’ll never be as good as your El Tri boys; that’s more your wheelhouse.

  3. that is one cold, wet, backhand, slap in the face. pretty sure if MLS moves the Crew, Columbus and most of Ohio will go back to ignoring soccer and focusing on the Buckeyes.. not getting back in line for MLS!

    @Panda, this is a bit different than the Quakes 1.0 moving to Houston and then SJE 2.0 expansion.. for one the team already has a SSS

  4. Makes perfect sense. Ticket sales are down. The ownership sees the crowds in ATL and MIN and other expansion teams. Why not move to a new city and start over. Just sucks for the chances for San Antonio getting a team

  5. It’s funny how so many people seem to forget that this has happened before in MLS and will more than likely happen again. That’s how American sports leagues have always operated.

    • This hasn’t happened before, unless you’re assuming MLS and Garber are going to do a full court press to get a new ownership group willing to build a new stadium by their 7th year and restart play in 2020 at the old stadium after paying the same fee as the SJE did in 2008 (indexed for inflation).

      I don’t think they’re going back though. MLS wasn’t far removed from the brink of collapse in 2008 and didn’t have options then. Columbus is likely out forever, and that distinction is lost tossers like you

  6. So, let’s get this straight. Columbus is such a bad market that PSV has to move to Austin. At the same time, however, Columbus is a great market for expansion? At the same time, by all accounts, Austin isn’t a good expansion market (at least not at the top of the heap), but it’s a good market to move a team to? None of this makes sense and should be a warning to all MLS supporters and potential expansion cities.

  7. Ignore Columbus loses the crew ill be done with mls in all forms. Currently live in Nashville but grew up a crew fan. My mom took me to the first crew game in Ohio stadium when I was in 6th grade. Done. I’ll watch euro/USMNT but no more MLS.

  8. WOW this is such unbelievable BS from MLS leadership- so now they’re ripping out original clubs and forcing them to re-apply to be an expansion team?

    Supporters of all MLS clubs should be shocked and outraged by this – they could come for your club next. This is such a shady, underhanded business practice.

    MLS has officially stopped giving a damn about its fans. It’s now turning into a pure Ponzi scheme, with Don Garber as Bernie Madoff, and after the expansion fees dry up they just cannibalize their own clubs and fam bases.

    This is NOT OK and every true MLS supporter needs to be calling their club and telling them they want won’t stand for it.

    I’m a DC United supporter, and if they do this to Columbus, I am done with MLS. For life. I won’t set foot in the new stadium, if it’s built on this kind of slime.

      • I opposed AEG holding San Jose hostage for a new stadium then, as I do now.
        If I remember correctly in San Jose, they were given their team back as soon as AEG decided to move the team. Garber worked with them to bring in a new ownership, and now they have the longest bar in the world.
        The key difference is that they realized the mistake of trying to move the Earthquakes from it’s fan base and came up with a solution. Now instead, they are simply ripping apart the history of the first team in MLS

      • San Jose was difficult to accept as well, and it shouldn’t have been done hat way, but at least the plan was immediately in place to keep the club and all history in San Jose. And as far as I know, it wasn’t a straight up extortion attempt like we see here. And while playing in Spartan Stadium was actually not sustainable (even from a competitive standpoint, it was too narrow) playing in Crew Stadium while looking for other long term solutions is perfectly acceptable.

        With Columbus, MLS is working in concert with a shady owner and blatantly lying about what’s been happening to date, the negotiations with the city (which has put together multiple sites and local ownership groups, despite Precourts claims), Precourt is lying about the numbers, and at this point he is shutting down entrance gates to try to MAKE attendance look bad. It’s a complete sh*tshow.

        MLS must be completely tone deaf to its fans to not see that this will affect its business overall. The core of MLS fans that actually care about the league’s history and the overall health of the sport will not look kindly on MLS extorting it’s original clubs.

    • To be fair, it’s not like they are getting and expansion fee from the move to Austin, so yes, if there is going to be an extra team, there has to be an expansion fee

      • What?!? That’s some straight up malware extortion – we will let you keep using your program and promise not to delete all of your history & data after you give us $150mil and a new stadium.

  9. If I were Columbus city officials, I would tell MLS if you move our team, we are not about to turn around and cough up $150 million for another MLS team. Put a team in the NASL, as long as it survives, and make a run at the Open Cup. I have been a fan of MLS since day one. Stuck with them through retraction of two teams, the great Chivas experiment, and moving San Jose, but enough.


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