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Columbus mayor’s open letter: ‘prospective purchasers’ interested in Crew SC

Oct 31, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Crew SC Investor operator Anthony Precourt watches from his booth in the first half against the New York City FC at MAPFRE Stadium. (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)

The city of Columbus says “prospective purchasers” are interested in buying Crew SC from Precourt Sports Ventures, potentially saving the club from relocating to Austin, Texas.

In an open letter published Friday, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, while disputing recent statements by Crew SC owner, said the city and the Columbus Partnership—a consortium of local business leaders—remain committed to working with Precourt and Major League Soccer.

“Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer has been in contact with prospective purchasers who have the necessary bona fides to operate an MLS franchise and are able to make a reasonable offer to purchase the team,” Mayor Ginther said in the letter. “In addition, Mr. Fischer has identified multiple potential downtown stadium locations that may be suitable for a new soccer stadium. However, the ability to pursue these efforts requires access to information held by PSV Entities and MLS.
 
“We respectfully request that you make arrangements for Mr. Fischer and any and all prospective buyers to inspect the financial records of the PSV Entities and MLS as necessary. We look forward to the prospective purchasers providing you a concrete offer(s) once they are able to complete a thorough valuation of the team.”

Mayor Ginther notes the letter does not affect the ongoing litigation, which the city and state of Ohio filed in March to prevent the team from leaving. Precourt and MLS have until April 19 to formally respond to the lawsuit, which invokes the state’s untested “Modell Law” implemented after the Cleveland Browns left for Baltimore in 1996.

Part of that law requires sports team owners give six months’ notice before leaving.

“The City also rejects any contention that we have received notice that the Columbus Crew SC will cease playing most of its home games at MAPFRE Stadium,” Mayor Ginther says in the letter.

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