Austin City Council delays Columbus Crew stadium vote by a week

Austin City Council has put off a vote on a stadium proposal that could trigger a Columbus Crew move to Texas as early as the 2019 season until next week.

The council met for several hours on Thursday to vote on a plan to let Crew owner Anthony Precourt build a 20,000-seat, $200 million privately-funded stadium on city land.

Precourt has been exploring moving one of Major League Soccer's founding clubs to Austin since 2017, and earlier in the day urged council members to adopt what he called the "most favourable" stadium deal for any MLS city.

The Austin proposal is supported by Mayor Steve Adler but has faced resistance from some council members who question whether the land could be better used for affordable housing or parks in the Texan capital city.

"We don't have very many events in this city that bring everybody together, that bring people of every walk of life together," Adler said.

"That's a huge thing, a huge value for a city in desperate need of something like this. Not everything has to solve all of our problems."

Adler said he believed the plan had the votes to pass but agreed to delay action until Aug. 15 after several council members said they wanted more time to review late-filed amendments.

Richard Suttle, Precourt's lobbyist before the council, has said any delay makes it more difficult to move in time for the 2019 season but added that he was optimistic that there was support.

"We have to tell the league the city is making some tweaks to the term sheet," Suttle said. "But it appears there's a majority support vote to bring MLS to Austin."

Columbus has fought to keep its team. Fan group Save the Crew has rallied support for season ticket pledges and produced its own stadium proposal.

A state lawsuit seeks to block the move, and Columbus fans hope a locally-financed ownership group will step forward to buy the club from Precourt, a San Francisco-based investor who bought it in 2013.

His purchase agreement included a promise to keep the Crew in Columbus for at least 10 years, but also had a clause that would let him move to Austin.