Like many of you, I was taken back by last night’s news about the Columbus Crew SC potentially moving to Austin, Texas. If you haven’t dove into that news yet, I highly recommend checking out our partners on SBN, Massive Report, for their coverage of this story.
It is a pretty massive bombshell to drop right before the end of the season too. As it stands right now, 2018 could be the last year for the Crew in Ohio unless a lot of things change in the next few months.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Columbus owner Anthony Precourt has seemingly already made up his mind. MLS reportedly filed trademarks earlier this year for “Austin FC” and Austin Athletic,” and a deal to have the team play home games at the University of Texas is “all but done.”
So why does this matter to us? First of all, it brings another team to Texas. In some ways, it feels weird knowing that our two biggest rivals could end up being teams that weren’t originally there when the league began. Houston was a team that was relocated from San Jose a decade ago and now Columbus appears to be doing the same with Austin.
The potential to have additional road trips within the State of Texas does have me excited on some level and selfishly I would love the idea of upwards of two trips to Austin for soccer related reasons each year.
The second thing to consider in all of this is that it may kill San Antonio’s potential chance at getting a MLS team. They’ve issued a small statement about this news but I would argue it would really dampen their chances.
Overall though, I have to say that seeing Columbus leave Ohio like this would be a massive blow to the league and the fans. Not just the Crew fans but fans of a lot of teams. This kind of thing could easily happen anywhere now if this goes through.
MLS hasn’t been hit by the relocation bug as much as other leagues in this country and you know that you only need a spark to start a fire.
Precourt and the Crew have a long, long way to go right now to win back trust of their fans and the rest of the league. While I’m sure soccer fans in Austin would take them in right now if given the chance, there is not guarantee for success there. Threats like this have never gone well in the past for American sports owners and I can’t see a way that Precourt will get out of this looking rosy to anyone but maybe himself.
I won’t get into why Austin is better than Columbus or vice versa. Relocation just flat sucks for the fans. It is as simple as that.
The Crew may not be a big rival to FC Dallas but they sure could be here soon.
What are your feelings on this development? Let us know below.
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