UPDATE: Major League Soccer released a joint statement on Friday evening confirming the news that an investor group has come together and entered negotiations to purchase the Columbus Crew SC.
“Major League Soccer and the Columbus Partnership have been working together for several months on a plan to keep the Crew in Columbus and we have made significant progress. MLS, the Columbus Partnership and the investor group all agree that for the Club to be successful, it requires strong local owners, long-term corporate support, a strong season ticket base and long-term plans for a stadium, practice facilities and associated sites. 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.”
Meanwhile the Cleveland Browns twitter account posted a statement from owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, who are part of that investor group aiming to purchase the team.
“We value and appreciate the benefits a professional sports franchise can bring to a community and are hopeful to be a part of the solution to keep the Crew in Columbus,” the statement read.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle says the plan of the new group is to keep the Crew players and staff in Columbus.
Earlier Friday Jonathan “T-Bone” Smith jumped on Carpenter and Rothman upon hearing word that soccer is safe in Columbus. And somehow he was able to compose himself enough to make it through 10-plus minutes of discussion. Though many questions still need answers, a celebratory mood was sweeping through the capital city.
“I got in touch with someone, a governmental source I will say, who will have direct knowledge of the situation who said you are right to celebrate safely,” Bone said.
While at the time T-Bone wasn’t sure about all the details of the news regarding soccer in Columbus in 2019 and beyond, the important part of the equation was already there.
“Will they call this an expansion team? I don’t know. The rumor is the team coming in, or whatever the Crew look like going forward, will still be the Crew, team records will be retained. But all I’ve confirmed is Save The Crew happened. We’ve saved the team.”