The steps outside Columbus City Hall turned into a sea of black and gold on Sunday as thousands of Crew SC fans turned out for a “Save the Crew” rally.
The rally came five days after team owner Anthony Precourt confirmed reports that he’s exploring moving the soccer club to Austin, Texas, unless a new downtown stadium is built in Columbus.
In the days that followed, reports began to trickle out that Major League Soccer registered at least two Austin-related trademarks earlier this year. It was also reported that when Precourt's company bought the Crew in 2013, the contract contained a clause saying he could only move the team to Austin.
The news of a possible move broke the hearts of many Crew fans, but they still turned out in droves on Sunday, holding signs with words like, “We Built This City On Black and Gold” and “One Club, One City.”
“I really hope this sends a message, at least to the heads upstairs and across the league as well,” fan Jarrod Persinger told WBNS.
Former Crew player Dante Washington told WCMH that he hopes the rally tells Precourt to think “three times, four and times, really hard about what he’s trying to do.”
Precourt has said the Crew will continue to play in Columbus through 2018, with a potential move to Austin coming in 2019.
The team has said season ticket holders who’ve already paid for 2018 season tickets will not be eligible for a refund.
Fans of other MLS teams showed support for the Crew with signs and banners at seven games on Sunday.
— Hudson St. Hooligans (@HSHCrew) October 23, 2017