Might as well do it live (!) and cover the announcement! Reports are we’ll see an announcement on new stadium plans and training facilities, among other things. As I reported last night, Austin looks to have the lease agreement to be done this week, with an announcement next week if all goes well. This isn’t related to the Crew specifically, but would obviously finish up the Anthony Precourt of it all. Let’s see what happens (time-stamps PDT)!
7:05 AM: Good morning! Good thing I don’t have a client meeting until noon, so I can cover this. I appreciate MLS & Columbus being so considerate.
7:06 AM: Anita Davis up first. Supporter of Columbus Parks.
7:09 AM: Mayor Ginther up next. Thanks Haslam/Edwards and others. Says they are close to a “change in ownership” which will keep the Crew in Columbus “where they belong” [applause]. Additional details in the next couple of days. Talks about Mapfre as the first american soccer specific stadium. Relays the announcement that Precourt was exploring a move to Austin, and what the community did in response. Also talks about the consequences of the team leaving. Says that any public-private partnership has to further community goals (high paying jobs, share in success). City is commiting funds for land and infrastructure. Says any deal must include jobs and minority participation.
7:13 AM: Once new stadium is built, Mapfre will turn into the new Columbus training facility and Community Sports Park.
7:15 AM: Mayor Ginther expects that the Crew will play at Mapfre for the next two years while the new stadium is built. Funding will be supported with Community Benefits Agreement, which has been used for other local construction.
7:21 AM: Praises the prospect of turning Mapfre into a community sports complex that everyone will be able to use. Talk about how a year ago, he and the mayor had a “disappointing month” given the meeting with MLS in New York. Says after the meeting where there didn’t seem to be a path to save the team, they had a discussion to figure out what to do next. Says they then decided that the Crew moving would “not define our city.”
7:22 AM: Says that Haslam/Edwards approached them (Edwards first) about getting something done. MLS basically gave them until the end of the year to try to get a deal through. Says they did about 18 months of work in six months. MLS’ attitude changed during the summer (lines up with my discussions w/MLS).
7:23 AM: Commissioner Marilyn Brown is up. Talks about how Mapfre (I presume) will be improved and will put it “on the map.”
7:27 AM: Brown says that the stadium plans for the Crew will involve more than a stadium, it will be about economic development.
7:28 AM: Council President Shannon Hardin up next. Thanks the group involved in this announcement. Specifically Zach Klein. Says that Megan Kilgore (City Auditor) is not there because she is working on the deal.
7:31 AM: Says that the proposal meets the goals he had for the Mayor.
7:34 AM: Says there will be a meeting tomorrow to get this done. Tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. for public input! Looks like more live blogging!
7:35 AM: City Attorney Zach Klein up now. Lawsuit not wrapped up yet, but they are close. Talks about how how when this MLS announced the Crew was leaving, he was told to “let it go” after filing the lawsuit. But notes that #SaveTheCrew folks came down to help him pursue keeping the team.
7:40 AM: Klein announces a former Ohio State soccer player and attorney at Ohio State who talks about her experiences. And, that’s it! I guess we’ll be back tomorrow.