Columbus mayor to meet with Garber, Precourt over Crew's future

Columbus mayor Andrew J. Ginther is planning in-person meetings with Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber and Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt to discuss the city's options for keeping the team in Ohio's capital.

On Oct. 16, the Crew's owner told ESPN FC that Precourt Sports Ventures, of which he is chairman and CEO, were considering a possible move to Austin, Texas, unless the city could come up with a plan for a new downtown stadium.

On Tuesday, Ginther and Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer released a statement on the mayor's Facebook page on Tuesday that said they had reached out to Garber and Precourt and that both had agreed to meet with them in person to discuss the future of the Crew.

The statement read: "We are resolved to do our part to keep the Columbus Crew SC in Columbus. Over the weekend, we made contact with Columbus Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt and MLS Commissioner Don Garber. We reiterated our views to each very directly and have requested in-person meetings with both to discuss options for keeping the team in Columbus. They have agreed, and we expect those meetings to occur over the coming weeks.

"Until those meetings take place, we don't expect to have anything new to report. We will keep our public comments focused on cheering on our beloved Columbus Crew SC during the playoffs."

The mayor began the post by congratulating the team on its upcoming MLS Playoff match against Atlanta United on Thursday, a winner-take-all game for a spot in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Regarding the match, the mayor wrote: "Congratulations to the Columbus Crew SC, our hometown team that's getting ready to begin the playoffs. Your on-field performance is making Columbus prouder than ever, especially now.

"To Columbus Crew SC fans everywhere, we know this is a tough time. Thank you for your outpouring of support for the Black and Gold.

"Sunday's rally says it all about our great city, players and fans. We are amazed at the encouragement we've received from you -- and from Major League Soccer fans across the country -- in support of Columbus and our efforts to keep Columbus Crew SC in our city. We appreciate all of the backers who recognize Columbus' rightful place in the history of the MLS and U.S. soccer."

Ginther did not reveal specifics about what he planned to talk to Garber and Precourt about, but did say he would have nothing new to report about the team's future in the meantime, preferring to focus on supporting the team in its playoff match.