Columbus Crew acquired by Precourt Sports Ventures

Courtesy of MCTNew England Revolution midfielder Chris Tierney takes a corner kick against the Columbus Crew in unfriendly territory in Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday, July 20, 2013. The Revolution scored two goals in stoppage time to win the match, 2-0.Effectively immediately, new ownership will lead the Columbus Crew, the city’s MajorLeague Soccer franchise, as announced during a press conference at Crew StadiumJuly 30.Precourt Sports Ventures, LLC, has acquired the team from the Hunt Sports Groupfor an undisclosed purchase price and is now a 100 percent stakeholder. AnthonyPrecourt is the managing partner of PSV and attended the press conference as thefirm’s representative.Columbus mayor Michael Coleman and Clark Hunt, chairman of HSG and CEO of theKansas City Chiefs of the NFL, joined Precourt on stage.In the context of that watershed event, Hunt spoke of his family’s role in the galvanizingof Major League Soccer as an American mainstay.“There was one thing that propelled the League on to success, to where it is today.Against the odds, and against the momentum of the League, my family made thedecision to build Crew Stadium. And as a result, today there are 14 soccer-specificstadiums in Major League Soccer,” said Hunt.Hunt said his company had only been looking for minority investors in the team whenPrecourt made the offer to buy the entire franchise earlier this summer.“We were initially very taken aback by his interest, but after we got to know Anthony,we concluded that he was the right guy to lead the Columbus Crew, that he would be agreat fit for the city of Columbus, that he would be somebody that would push the teamto be successful on the field,” said Hunt.Precourt said his company “will respectfully and diligently try to uphold Lamar’s (ClarkHunt’s father) vision for Major League Soccer and the Crew. And further, we will honorhis fan-first mentality.”Precourt used the platform to formally greet the Greater Columbus community and toexpress his anticipation of working toward success in “a dynamic, growing city withincredible soccer heritage and a passionate soccer supporters’ fan base.”Mayor Coleman agreed by saying “the Columbus Crew is a vital part of the fabric andthe future of the city.”He laid out specifics of the role the Crew has played in financially bolstering the city’sbottom line: “$400 million in direct spending, the hundreds of area jobs, the 3.5 millionpeople who have attended soccer matches and other events here, the millions of taxrevenue.”The mayor said Precourt assured him during talks in the days preceding the pressconference that the team would remain in Columbus.When the panel concluded their remarks and opened the floor for questions, onereporter asked if Precourt had any plans of relocation.Precourt surprised the reporters by saying, “I do live in Northern California now, and Iintend to be here on a regular basis. I’m not sure we’ll be moving here full time, but I’llbe here very, very regularly and have a second home here.”Continuing to speak on his vision for the team to succeed athletically, Precourt said,“We have a competitive fire, and our intent is to run this club with a single mission: tocreate the resources to win over the short run and the long run…We want to be a playoffteam every year.”Precourt fielded questions about his ownership style, given that it will be his family’sfirst journey into sports management after extensive operational experience in finance,natural gas pipelines and facilities.“First and foremost, I want a great culture…I want more horizontal structure wherepeople are empowered. I guess you’d say I’ll be hands-on and attentive and involved,and over time, I will empower our employees to do their jobs well,” said Precourt.Beyond the scope of the business aspects of the acquisition, Precourt was careful toemphasize his goals for fostering a winning franchise that draws fans and gets themexcited about soccer in Columbus.“A full stadium is a lot more exciting than a two-thirds-full stadium. There are 17 homegames, and we should fill the stadium for all 17 games,” said Precourt.As a father, Precourt has coached youth soccer in U6 and U8 competition, but he saidhe said he will stay out of the day-to-day soccer operations of the Columbus Crew.Hunt said his company will “continue to be the investor-operator of [MLS franchise] FCDallas and plan on doing so for many years to come. Like Anthony, we’re a big believerin where Major League Soccer is headed and excited to still be part of the League andto now be a partner of Anthony’s through the League.”

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