The Precourt era looks to have become the Postcourt era. (I'll see myself out.)
As many media outlets have reported, the bid to keep the Crew SC in Columbus has taken a significant and unexpected leap forward today.
An investor group that includes Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam (make that the 2-2-1 Cleveland Browns, thank you very much) and the local Edwards family have started negotiations with MLS to purchase the team, though a deal is not yet finalized.
Rumors of a potential break in the #SaveTheCrew movement, which kicked off nearly a year ago when owner Anthony Precourt announced plans to move the team to Austin, Texas, started rumbling early in the day on social media. Anticipation spiked with every cryptic-seeming tweet, reaching a fever pitch when the official Twitter account of #SaveTheCrew (@Save_The_Crew) posted an image with text that read: "Saved the Crew." The tweet also included the message, "We ALL did this. Together."
The group later released an official statement that read, in part, "Today's news is certainly an exciting development in this nearly year-long saga. ... We're thrilled by the commitment from Major League Soccer to keep Crew SC in Columbus."
After several delays, the news officially broke around 5 p.m. when MLS, the Columbus Partnership and the proposed investors released a joint statement, much to the delight of the Crew faithful who had started gathering at Endeavor Brewing in Grandview as early as 11 a.m. expecting a big announcement. It read, in part, "MLS is committed to keeping the Crew in Columbus should we continue to make progress on these critical components and agree to key terms with the investor group."
Among these "critical components" is a long-debated new stadium, which will likely land in a to-be-determined Downtown or Downtown-adjacent location once the dust settles.
The Columbus Partnership, Jimmy Haslam and Dr. Pete Edwards also released a join statement, noting that, "While there are many details to be worked out ... we are very excited about the quiet but deliberate progress that has been made to date."
It's not so quiet anymore.