#SaveTheCrew Plan Barrels Forward As Franklin County Approves Stadium

Dec 18, 2018

Columbus city leaders say local officials have now satisfied the deadline to work out a Columbus Crew stadium deal and keep the team from leaving town.

Franklin County Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution to kick in $50 million for the stadium project, which will be located in the Arena District. Columbus City Council previously passed a resolution pledging $50 million for the Confluence Village development.

The Ohio legislature also approved $15 million to contribute to the stadium project, which lawmakers say would trigger the state's "Modell Law" and block future owners from moving the Crew out of town.

Major League Soccer gave Columbus until the end of the year to reach a deal. Mayor Andrew Ginther’s office says they’ve met that deadline, and the next step will be assembling a working group to hash out finer details about the stadium project.

That working group will include representatives from the city, county, the Columbus Partnership, and the new ownership group. Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam and Columbus doctor Peter Edwards Jr. are leading the purchase and stadium project, which is estimated to total $645 million.

Columbus’ working group will meet in January to develop a timeline for Confluence Village and the Columbus Community Sports Park, which will replace MAPFRE Stadium. There’s no estimate yet for how long those negotiations will take, or when the first shovel will hit the ground.

As part of the plan, Anthony Precourt would sell the Crew but operate a new franchise in Austin, Texas. MLS said it was “very committed” to launching a team in Austin, where the city has approved plans for a privately-financed soccer stadium.

The Mayor’s Office says MLS is involved and aware of the MOU, and have been part of the conversations, but still needs to confirm the transfer of ownership.