Plan to keep Crew in Columbus has made progress with Browns owner emerging as potential buyer

Local investor group optimistic about potential sale

The Save The Crew campaign appears to have succeeded. A deal to keep the Columbus Crew in the city it has called home since its first game in 1996 and stop a move to Austin, Texas, is in the works, Major League Soccer announced Friday.

A local investor group led by Pete Edwards, Jr. and Dee and Jimmy Haslam, the owner of the Cleveland Browns, announced it had formed an alliance to keep the Crew in Columbus.

» A YEAR AGO: Crew could leave Ohio for Texas

"Major League Soccer and the Columbus Partnership have been working together for several months on a plan to keep Crew SC in Columbus and we have made significant progress,” Major League Soccer announced in a statement. “Recently, the Haslam Family — along with the Columbus-based Edwards Family, have joined the effort to keep Crew SC in Columbus. MLS, the Columbus Partnership and the investor group all agree that for the club to be successful in Columbus, it requires strong local partners, 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 Crew SC in Columbus should we continue to make progress on these critical components and agree to key terms with the investor group. MLS recognizes the cooperation Precourt Sports Ventures has demonstrated throughout the process to date. MLS also remains very committed to PSV’s plan to launch an MLS club in Austin and is excited for Austin to become a great addition to MLS. We will continue to work with PSV and the City of Austin on the timing around the launch of Austin FC."

Crew fans gathered around Columbus to celebrate the news. The Twitter account, Save The Crew, started by fans hoping to keep the team in Columbus, wrote: “We ALL did this. Together.”

The local investor group also released a statement, saying it is optimistic about recent conversations “with MLS regarding the potential sale of the operating rights of the Columbus Crew. While there are many details to be worked out, our alliance is working diligently and collaboratively with the League to keep the Crew in its community. We are very excited about the quiet but deliberate progress that has been made to date and will keep the community updated as this process moves forward."

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