‘Crew’ ready to ‘take off’ in new arena


Columbus Crew SC first seats installed Image: Columbus Crew SC

The futuristic Downtown Crew Stadium, the new home of US Major League Soccer (MLS) reigning champions Columbus Crew SC at Columbus in the American State of Ohio, is all set for a July 2021 opening with season ticket member families seats the first to be installed recently at the avant-garde venue.

This was announced by Columbus Crew SC in its website which regularly features a series of renderings of the upcoming arena and developments in the spillover area.

The American professional soccer club Columbus Crew SC based in Columbus, Ohio (US) competes in the top division Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference. In December 2020, the Crew lifted the MLS championship cup 2020.

The New Columbus Crew stadium is a soccer-specific stadium under construction in Columbus, Ohio, United States, and will be able to pack in a crowd of 20,000. It will primarily serve as the new home stadium of the Columbus Crew SC of Major League Soccer, replacing the club’s current home, the 19,968-capacity Mapfre Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

The Mapfre Stadium and its surroundings will be redeveloped as the club’s new training facility.

The Major League Soccer (MLS) is a men’s professional soccer league sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation, which represents the sport’s highest level in the United States and Canada. The league comprises 27 teams – 24 in the US and 3 in Canada – and will expand to 30 teams by the 2023 season.

The MLS Cup is the annual championship game of Major League Soccer (MLS) and the culmination of the MLS Cup Playoffs. The game is held in early November every year and pits the winner of the Eastern Conference Final against the winner of the Western Conference Final. The MLS Cup winner is awarded the title of league champion.

Columbus Crew SC sources stated that in October 2017, Crew fans went into a tizzy following the announcement by then-owner Anthony Precourt that he was eyeing a move to Austin, Texas, attributing the need to relocate to corporate sponsorships and poor attendance.

What resulted was a succession of lawsuits and a massive outcry at the grassroots for ‘Save the Crew’. In 2018 December, a new ownership group including team physician Dr. Pete Edwards and Jimmy and Dee Haslam stepped in to buy the Crew and space to build the new stadium, making for a more sustainable team base.

The groundbreaking work to construct the state-of-the-art stadium began in October 2019.

Columbus Crew SC sources added that the new arena has generated 605 construction jobs and will generate 775 full-time jobs. Both private and public funding make up for this ultra-modern stadium estimated to cost 30 crores USD.

A component of this financing has come through a $25 million, 25-year loan from the State of Ohio. The Ohio Controlling Board recently approved the State Development Services Agency’s request for a loan to the Confluence Community Authority, the entity that oversees the stadium.

The loan has a 3 percent interest rate and has to be paid back in 25 years. In lieu of the loan, the Crew promises to create 28 new full-time jobs and retain 155 existing full-time jobs at the project site.

Other public financing includes $51.3 million in County-approved community authority bonds and $63.9 million by the City of Columbus for rejuvenation of the surrounding Arena District, which will include a mixed-use development, pedestrian bridge, parking garage and City park.

The Crew also received $20 million from the State as a “cultural facilities grant”.

The Haslam and Edwards families have contributed more than $60 million as of October 2020.

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