MLS Announces Columbus Crew SC to Be Owned, Operated by Haslam, Edwards Families

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2018

Columbus Crew SC midfielder Artur (8), Milton Valenzuela (19) and forward Federico Higuain (10) celebrate after penalty kicks in an MLS playoff soccer match against the D.C. United, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, in Washington. The Crew SC won 2-2 (3-2) in penalty kicks. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

An agreement has been reached with the Haslam and Edwards families for the takeover of MLS franchise Columbus Crew, the league announced on Friday.

Per the MLS' official website the operating rights will be transferred to the new owners in January.

Precourt Sports Ventures had owned the Crew's operating rights since 2013, but according to the report, they had been locked in a lawsuit with the City of Columbus and the state of Ohio. That suit has now been dismissed, with the future of football in Columbus assured.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 23: Midfielder Wil Trapp #6 of Columbus Crew and midfielder Benny Feilhaber #33 of the LAFC take a fall in the Los Angeles FC MLS game at Banc of California Stadium on June 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant
Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

MLS Commissioner Don Garber welcomed the Haslam and Edwards families:

"After several months of discussions, we are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement in principle with the Haslam and Edwards families for them to assume an ownership position in Major League Soccer and operate Columbus Crew SC starting in January, 2019.

"While we work to finalize the deal promptly, we want to state publicly the tremendous collaboration and community support for Crew SC, which has set the stage for a powerful plan that includes a world-class soccer stadium – a critical step that will help ensure the club’s success on and off the field."

The Haslam family already own an established Ohio-based sports franchise, the NFL's Cleveland Browns, and the Edwards family is based in Columbus.

With their strong ties to the local community, the Crew's future is all but assured. As explained by Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl, the team was previously in danger of being moved to Austin, leading to the lawsuit against MLS and Precourt.

Per MLS' report, state and city officials have approved a public-private partnership for a new stadium.

Adam Hunger/Associated Press

The new owners' next task will be the search for a head coach following the departure of longtime boss Gregg Berhalter. The 45-year-old was announced as the new U.S. men's national team coach earlier this month.

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