The Crew's attendance woes have been well-publicized, but a new partnership between the city's professional sports teams aims to make sure the winning product on the field gets attention, too.

The Crew's attendance woes have been well-publicized, but a new partnership between the city's professional sports teams aims to make sure the winning product on the field gets attention, too.

Game On Columbus originated when Mayor Michael B. Coleman and Columbus City Council asked the Greater Columbus Sports Commission to incorporate the local sports teams into next year's bicentennial celebration. The project evolved into a joint partnership between the Crew, Clippers and Blue Jackets, beginning with a digital billboard campaign that runs until July 2012.

The project was called Game On as a challenge for local fans to give the city's pro teams attention - particularly attendance - comparable to what Ohio State gets.

"Fans in Columbus and Central Ohio don't really support them at the level they do Ohio State, and we just really needed to communicate to people that we really are a major league sport city," commission spokesman Bruce Wimbish said.

The Crew is using Game On's initial push to highlight its Sept. 24 match against the star-studded Los Angeles Galaxy. Coleman will be on hand for the opening coin flip and is challenging the mayor of Los Angeles to a friendly wager on the battle of conference leaders.

Despite the Crew's success on the field, the team's average attendance is the lowest in MLS at about 11,000 people per game. Meanwhile recent expansion cities Portland, Toronto, Vancouver and Philadelphia average between 18,000-20,000, and Seattle averages a whopping 37,000.

Crew General Manager Mark McCullers thinks Game On will ultimately boost the Crew's dwindling season ticket base.

"The major difference between us and what's happening in the expansion cities is the season ticket base," McCullers said. "We've got to do better."

To that end, the Crew also launched an aggressive sales push for 2012 season tickets with increased benefits for more expensive sections and lower prices elsewhere in the stadium.

The Crew has teamed with the Blue Jackets before, but Game On is the first significant partnership with the Clippers, whose AAA baseball season directly competes with MLS. McCullers said there's no reason both teams can't thrive at the box office.

"I think all of us agree that growing the professional sports industry in Columbus is important," McCullers said. "It's not about how you split up the pie. It's about growing the pie."