Canyon Echoes

Pro Sports Teams In Austin

Andrew Bailey, Sports Reporter

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Over the past few years, Austin has turned into something of a metropolis: two million people, the fastest growth rate of any city in the United States and the home of a vibrant downtown scene. But one key piece of our city’s growth: a pro sports team. But in 2018, that may change. MLS team Columbus Crew have started plans about a potential move to Austin. Crew owner Anthony Precourt has a deal in place with the University of Texas to use their training facilities and host matches at the 90,000-seater Darrell K. Royal Stadium for the 2019 MLS season. But what will this mean for other MLS expansion sides, and more importantly, what will it mean for Austin?

One key issue about a possible relocation to Austin is that a potential expansion team in San Antonio would not be able to go through. San Antonio FC, a team that competes in the second-tier NASL, has submitted a bid to become a part of the MLS, but has made it clear in no uncertain terms to commissioner Don Garber, that if there is a team in Austin, they will not continue with their pursuit of a team in South Texas.

But what does this mean for the Crew faithful up in Columbus? Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther called it “A travesty” and said it would be “A huge disappointment to the loyal and growing fanbase”. Despite being as yearly MLS Cup contender and playoff regular- the Crew have made the playoffs in 14 out of 21 possible seasons and has won three MLS Cups- attendance at MAPFRE Stadium was 20th of 22 teams, behind only last-placed Colorado Rapids and underwhelming FC Dallas. The 2017 Eastern Conference finalists had such low attendances that many players complained about it during the season, and now has caused a concern from the owners that a change in scenery is needed.

“I would be stoked if the Columbus Crew moved to Austin,” Diego Djordjevic (8) said, an avid soccer fan and player. “I’ve always wanted a pro team in Austin. Especially because it’s a soccer team, which is my sport.I think it would be awesome”.

A move away from Columbus would be a very sad thing to happen to the Crew, one of the original ten MLS founder teams. But if they were to move to Austin, it would be huge for everyone here in our hometown.

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