Top Stories

Garber: ‘I understand’ why Crew fans are unhappy

It’s been several months since it was revealed that the Columbus Crew could be bound for Austin and, in many ways, little has changed. There’s still equal levels of uncertainty and animosity surrounding the franchise.

Don Garber understands the frustration that has come both in Columbus and throughout the American soccer scene. However, the MLS commissioner continues to say he expects the Crew ownership to do whatever is in the best interest of the club, whatever city that may be in.

“I understand that they’re unhappy,” Garber told Sports Illustrated.  “Any league, every league that goes through this process, and all the leagues have, knows that it is traumatic when a team moves from one city to the next. I want to start by saying we understand that and we are sympathetic to the process that is taking place.

“All leagues make this decision because ultimately it is a decision that needs to be made to ensure that a team will be viable, can be successful for the long-term. Columbus, albeit with a group of passionate fans, has not been able to compete at a level that other more successful teams have been able to do.”

As things stand, Crew ownership is reportedly looking to formalize a stadium plan in Austin, but is receiving a bit of push back from local lawmakers. Council Member Ann Kitchen is sponsoring a resolution that would remove two local parkland sites from consideration as potential locations for the relocated team’s proposed stadium.

Anthony Precourt has reportedly identified Butler Park as his top choice for the 20,000-seat stadium as the club looks to find a home near Austin’s downtown.

The Crew owner met with city officials in November with the meeting ending with both sides frustrated by the lack of progress.

“There’s been a parallel path,” Garber said. “One is Anthony Precourt’s, the owner’s, desire to get a stadium plan in place in Austin, Texas. If he’s able to achieve that, it puts him in good position. Parallel to that, he’s been working with the mayor, he’s been working with leaders, with others, to see what can happen to put elements in place for the Crew to be more successful in Columbus.

“Perhaps its a new stadium, perhaps there are other local owners that can join him, perhaps there’s more corporate support and, more importantly, perhaps there’s more interest from the community to have more people attend games and watch games on television.”

In December’s State of the League address, Garber echoed similar sentiments about the Crew, citing a number of issues with the team’s current situation.


  1. There won’t be any more corporate sponsors in Columbus with so much uncertainty around the team. Give me a break.

    The only thing I could see saving the team is a new stadium with at least partial public funds. Even that might not move Precourt to abandon Austin.

    They should have right-of-first-refusal clauses in MLS owner contracts where if they want to move a team, they should fist offer the team to the current city/investors at a market price.

  2. Butler Park, Austin – I don’t understand why these suits keep thinking that cities will give up their urban public park spaces for their businesses… the keep MLS OUT of Austin will be louder than the Save the Crew chants if they seriously try to make that happen.

    • Yeah, if they plan on building a stadium anywhere in Austin, it won’t be on park land, unless the public officials responsible want to be voted out of office. For every Austin resident that wants a stadium for an MLS team, there’s a mob of people that will oppose them.

    • Especially there. That’s a tight space as it is now, and traffic would be even more horrendous in that area. I guess we’ll see what transpires…

  3. “All (N. American) leagues make this decision….he should of said. I don’t see this happening anywhere else in the world. Greed.

  4. Based on your last comments Don, you do NOT understand.

    We are angry for many reasons.
    We are angry that Crew get 2 national tv dates a year if we are lucky – then tell us we are not ‘resonating’.
    We are angry that you bypassed local ownership options to bring in your stooge Precourt.
    We are angry that you put in a secret clause to allow the team to move Austin.
    We are angry that you burnt all of your bridges with local corporate partners before you sold the team to Precourt.
    We are angry that you have declared the Crew to be the worst in the league, yet in all metrics we are at least middle of the pack compared to the OG ’96 teams – never even close to last.
    We are angry that there is no ‘parallel path’.
    We are angry that you mis-used stats (or seemingly lied) in an attempt to justify your position.
    We are angry that you reduced 10k STH + all of the rest of the Crew fans down to ‘3K hard-core supporters’.
    We are angry that in a city that always rates in the Top 10 nationally for WC viewership MLS doesn’t see a viable market.

    This just scratches the surface – and this doesn’t even cover our anger towards Precourt – this is all directed at you Don.

    SaveTheCrew dot com
    CrewNotDoneYet dot com


Leave a Comment