For a long, long, while, this fight seemed to be reaching an inevitable conclusion: the Crew was to leave Columbus behind for greener pastures in Texas. The club, while performing well on the field, did not have the "sufficient numbers" required to keep the team in town. It had supposedly failed at every metric. For a year, we fought to save the Crew. And now? It is over. WE WON. We should celebrate that and chronicle just how we got here.
From the beginning, Anthony Precourt indicated, via his contract, that he sought to eventually relocate the Columbus Crew from its home, established in the league's nascent stage. The team could not be relocated except to Austin, and he sought to exercise that clause once he had stripped the team of a lot of the support it once had. Fine, Columbus does not have the BEST metrics for business, but it is hard to when the owner sought to move the team from the onset. He made a condition that made of us opposed; the city would have to allocate money for the construction of a new stadium. Then, the open flirting began with Austin. They had identified multiple sites for the construction of a new stadium, and the MLS to Austin fan groups sprung up to support this.
However, we did not go down without fighting. The team's vociferous, boisterous fans, along with various other supporter groups from other clubs, fought back. They were present on Twitter, at other games involving the Crew, and even games where the Crew was not playing. They petitioned city business leaders to try and take over the team and continued to make it known that the Crew was not leaving town unless a battle was fought over the team first. Even when it seemed the MLS would prefer a move to Austin in the name of "unexplored markets," we continued to persevere.
Luckily, that paid off. Jimmy Haslam, the owner of the Browns, swooped in and saved the club, along with the Edwards' family in Columbus. The Crew was staying in town, hopefully for a very, very long time. Though American sports culture is filled with myriad stories of failed-franchises, we managed to buck the trend. In a way, we can thank Art Modell, the disgraced Browns owner, for this; if he had not left, the Art Modell Law would not have been implemented, and the state would not have as much clout to fight for the club.
So, to sum up, against the odds, we survived and kept the team in the city of Columbus, its home. The team will not be uprooted from its foundation in town, and we should all rejoice. All Ohioans should; a key facet of the Ohio sports culture remained where it belonged. I am eternally grateful for all the fans and supporters who fought this fight.
And to FC Cincinnati; we will see you out there. Hell is Real.