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City Leaders Announce Meeting With Columbus Crew And MLS

Columbus Crew

Following a protest that brought thousands of Columbus Crew SC fans downtown, Columbus city leaders announced they will meet with the team's owners in the next couple weeks to convince them to stay.

Mayor Andrew Ginther and Columbus Partnership president Alex Fischer released a statement asserting that they're "resolved to do our part to keep the Columbus Crew SC in Columbus."

Over the weekend, they contacted Crew owner Anthony Precourt and Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber. City leaders requested in-person meetings, and Precourt and Garber agreed.

The meetings are expected to take place over the next few weeks. In the joint statement, Ginther and Fischer said they don't expect to report anything else before the meetings.

California-based Precourt Sports Ventures said in a statement that leaders look forward to further discussion with city leaders, and will not provide anymore updates before then.

All parties declined to comment further.

Last week, Precourt announced he would relocate the MLS team to Austin, Texas, unless a new stadium is built downtown. The plan was met with scorn from fans, and with disappointment from city leaders.

Precourt said last week during a teleconference, "No investor in Columbus presented a serious offer to invest in the club while the team played at MAPFRE stadium.”

Ginther, however, disagreed with that statement.

“We’ve been working with the private sector to set up a substantial commitment for corporate sponsorships, multi-million dollars over multiple years," Ginther said. "The private sector also stepped up and offered to buy the team, at least a majority ownership of the team so there could be local ownership and control.”