Austin scores future in MLS after City Council vote

Ross Burkhart

It’s official — a professional sports team is on its way to Austin for the first time in history.

For months, the city has followed speculation that a Major League Soccer team would be arriving in Austin pending a stadium proposal. The Austin City Council approved the latest proposal by a vote of 7-4 on Wednesday afternoon.

The proposed 20,000-seat venue will be located on a 24-acre, McKalla Place property owned by the city in North Austin near The Domain.

While not official, the Columbus Crew is the franchise most likely to become Austin’s newest attraction on account of the stadium financing being made possible through a partnership with Precourt Sports Ventures, a group controlled by Crew owner Anthony Precourt.

After the City Council reached its decision Wednesday, PSV said in a statement Wednesday that they were “extremely pleased” with the outcome of the vote.

“We wish to express our gratitude to the Austin City Council for passing today’s momentous resolutions,” the group said. “We thank council for acknowledging the groundswell of support to help bring MLS to Austin.”

Mayor Steve Adler, who PSV also thanked in its statement, displayed unwavering support for the team.

“I can’t wait until we are all wearing the same jersey celebrating the first championship of Austin,” Adler said, per the Austin American-Statesman.

While many Austin residents are ecstatic about the deal finally being passed, a group known as “Save The Crew” has worked to build support in order to keep the team in Columbus, Ohio. The Crew was founded in 1996 as one of the original MLS soccer clubs.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther posted a series of tweets regarding the new stadium deal Wednesday afternoon:

“When MLS and PSV indicated they wanted a downtown sports stadium, we entered into negotiations in good faith, rallying private investors and public support — including commitments for 10,000 season ticket holders for 2019 — to develop a comprehensive stadium plan.

Unfortunately, MLS and PSV have not operated with the same intentions. The McKalla Place site proposal in Austin, for example, sits more than 10 miles from the city’s center — three times the distance between the Columbus Crew’s current stadium and downtown.

We will continue our fight to keep the Crew where it belongs — in Columbus. #glorytocolumbus.”

Precourt has previously expressed his desire to have soccer played in Austin during the 2019 season, but a potential temporary training and playing facility has yet to be decided on.

The deal mentions that the McKalla Place stadium is expected to cost $200 million and is projected to be completed in 2021.