AUSTIN, Texas -- Austin leaders appear divided on where a new soccer team would play, but several Chambers of Commerce are united behind efforts to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to the Live Music Capital of the World.
The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce announced Friday they support attracting an MLS team. They say a professional sports team would bring millions of dollars to the local economy. Plus, it would serve a market that has some of the highest soccer viewership in the country.
"Soccer is the sport of the future," said Josh Babetski, who formed MLS in Austin in 2013 to advocate for a professional soccer team. "It is the fastest growing sport in the United States. It is the most popular sport on the planet, and we have been without professional soccer here for a number of years."
Chamber officials say Columbus Crew owners have been eyeing Austin for years and could be what inspires the region's next generation of great athletes.
"There are at least 10,000 kids playing soccer in our region," said Rudy Garza of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. "This is going to be another avenue for kids to go watch a soccer game."
Last month, Columbus Crew owners sunk plans to build a soccer stadium at Butler Shores after facing backlash from city leaders and some residents. They're still exploring other locations to build a stadium like this using private money.