COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — The first of three focus groups for Crew SC fans to sound off about a new stadium are getting underway Monday night.
Supporters who answered an online survey were selected to be part of the groups, which will meet Monday, Tuesday and Thursday night, as the team works to rebuild trust with fans after the previous ownership tried to take the team to Austin, Texas.
“I just didn’t think I’d be attending any Crew games in 2019 in Columbus," said Scott Wolf of Delaware, who was a season ticket holder since 2009. "I just didn’t think it was going to get pulled off.”
He faced the same dilemma last year as other Crew fans: stay away from games and perpetuate the belief that fans don't support soccer in Central Ohio or buy season tickets and put money in the pocket of owner Anthony Precourt, who made no secret of his desire to move the team out of town.
In the end, Wolf stayed away.
But now with the grassroots effort that led to new ownership for the team, he's back and so are many others. Fans are excited about the new ownership and about plans for a new stadium to be built west of downtown Columbus, which is expected be ready for the 2021 season.
A team spokesperson said Monday's focus group is all about listening to the fans. Team part-owner Dr. Pete Edwards said even small things are important, like restoring the goals to the miniature pitch next to MAPFRE Stadium, where kids play soccer during matches.
“It was a little thing but we want to listen and do things that make our fans excited," Edwards said on Good Day Columbus this past Sunday.
The team said interest in season ticket packages is high, but it won't say how many it sold so far.