Crew SC owner disputes local leaders offer to keep team in Columbus

FILE - In this June 14, 2017, file photo, Columbus Crew fans cheer before a U.S. Open Cup soccer match against FC Cincinnati, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Columbus Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt says if Columbus city leaders offered to buy half his team to keep them playing in the Capital City that's news to him.

"No investor in Columbus presented a serious offer to invest in the club," he said during a conference call with the media.

That directly contradicts what the President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership told 10TV.

"I led the discussion regarding offering to purchase 50 percent of the team and I thought it was a very serious offer," says Alex Fischer.

That alone may help understand how the deal to keep Crew SC in Columbus is difficult at best.

Last year, Precourt told the city about his financial concerns. He says poor attendance at the games and lack of sponsorship interest were hurting the team. The crew ranks 20th out of 22 teams in attendance.

On top of that, he says the stadium the team plays in is outdated by MLS standards and he wants a new state-of-the-art soccer-only stadium downtown.

Columbus Partnership says it never received any specifics on where the team wanted to build. Precourt declined to give any specifics.

However, Precourt did say they are not asking for public tax dollars to pay for a new stadium.

Crew SC will play in the stadium for the 2018 season. What happens after that season is unclear.

Ownership has not said when it plans to make a decision to leave or stay.

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