Columbus reps "disappointed and frustrated" over no deal to keep Crew SC
NEW YORK (WSYX/WTTE) -- Columbus' mayor and a leader for the city's business development are "disappointed and frustrated" after they say Columbus Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt made no offer about keeping the team from relocating after a meeting with Major League officials in New York City.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Alex Fischer (President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership released a statement following Wednesday's meeting saying it was "clear the MLS and ownership did not come to the meeting willing to commit to staying in Columbus."
City officials said they unsuccessfully put all options on the table to convince Precourt and the MLS of their commitment to the club with the hopes it would end speculation over a possible move to Austin, Texas.
"Great American cities do not get into bidding wars over sports teams to benefit private owners," the statement read.
Despite the letdown, Ginther and Fischer said they're open to negotiations with Precourt and the MLS at any point in the future and will continue to cheer on the team in its pursuit of an MLS Cup when they host the first leg of the Eastern Conference next Tuesday.
"We stand ready, willing and able to support the team’s success... Glory to Columbus.”
Shortly after the comments by City of Columbus officials were made public, Precourt Sports Ventures released their own statement about the meeting in New York, contradicting the city's claims.
"We were extremely disappointed that no concrete offer or proposal was presented and that the City of Columbus then told us that it would not communicate with us past today," it read.
The statement also said both PSV and the MLS were open to ideas with no demands as they willingly listened and entertained "concrete ideas or a meaningful proposal from the city’s representatives."
PSV also cited its commitment to the city four years ago when it bought 100% ownership in Crew SC. While the club has reinvented its look and brand during that time, ownership said "market challenges for Crew SC in Columbus continue to mount."
Like the city, PSV said it remains "open to a productive dialogue" if the other said reconsiders, while remaining focused on winning this year's MLS Cup.