Columbus Crew MLS team threatens move to Austin if new stadium isn't built

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- As FC Cincinnati rallies for its own stadium, Columbus Crew SC -- which is already an MLS team -- gave its city an ultimatum: Build a new stadium or we'll move to Texas.

Columbus Crew "has no choice but to expand and explore all of our options ... this includes a possible move to Austin," Anthony Precourt, Columbus Crew Chairman, said in a news release.

In a letter to season ticket holders, Precourt said news of the possible move was an attempt to be transparent. He also thanked loyal fans.

"Although the club continues to address a series of historic challenges related to our ongoing business operations, we have specific concerns as we strive to realize our full ambition of becoming a standard-bearer in Major League Soccer," Precourt said. "The facts and findings surrounding the health of the club dictate that we urgently expand and explore all options to preserve the long-term sustainability of the club—including remaining in Columbus."

Columbus Crew was established as an MLS team in 1994. In 1999, the Columbus Crew Stadium opened. At the time, it was the nation's first major league stadium built specifically for soccer, according the the team's website.

The news release from Columbus Crew said the team has been discussing the possibility of a new stadium since early 2016.

“As attendance league-wide continues to grow on a record-setting pace, and markets across the country seek to join MLS, Columbus’ situation is particularly concerning,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a news release. “Despite Precourt Sports Ventures’ significant investments and improvements on and off the field, Columbus Crew SC is near the bottom of the league in all business metrics and the Club’s stadium is no longer competitive with other venues across MLS. The league is very reluctant to allow teams to relocate, but based on these factors, we support PSV’s efforts to explore options outside of Columbus, including Austin, provided they find a suitable stadium location.”

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