AUSTIN, Texas - A statement issued by Major League Soccer Friday indicates a deal being hammered out to keep Crew SC in Columbus, Ohio, is moving forward. However, that doesn’t mean Austin won’t be getting an MLS franchise.
- Deal would keep Columbus Crew in Ohio
- MLS insisting Columbus Crew makes progress on key components
- Plan to bring professional soccer to Austin still being pursued
The statement said the deal has made significant progress and that the Haslam family has joined the effort to keep Crew SC in Columbus. MLS said it backs the plan to keep the team in Ohio so long as it makes progress on key components, including attaining strong local partners, long-term corporate support, a strong season ticket base and long-term plans for a stadium, practice facilities and associated sites.
MLS said it plans to move forward with Precourt Sports Ventures and its vision of Austin FC, regardless of the outcome in Columbus.
MLS said it is confident the team will begin playing in Austin no later than 2021 at the proposed location for a stadium, McKalla Place in North Austin.
Precourt Sports Ventures on Friday evening issued the following statement:
"With the recent news of a possible investor group stepping into Columbus, Austin FC is on the verge of becoming the first major league sports franchise in the history of Austin.
"PSV has made remarkable progress in Austin, and when the definitive agreement with the City of Austin is finalized, MLS in Austin will be a reality. Regardless of the possibility of any bona fide investor group in Columbus closing on a transaction to assume operating rights to Columbus Crew SC, Austin FC will be playing MLS matches in the Texas state capital in the near future. The club will likely begin playing at a date no later than the spring 2021 opening of the new, privately-financed stadium and soccer park at McKalla Place.
"Although the process is not yet final in Austin, a successful outcome is within reach and PSV remains grateful for the patience and support of all involved.
"The strength and resiliency of Austin supporters and elected officials have helped create a successful foundation for Austin FC to be a proud community platform, and PSV is incredibly excited for what lies ahead."