After the club presented a possible move to Austin on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Columbus Crew told Columbus' 10TV that they will not issue a refund to fans who purchased season tickets for the 2018 season.
Columbus owner Anthony Precourt announced Tuesday he is prepared to take the club, one of the MLS' original 10 franchise, to Austin in 2019 if plans for a downtown stadium in Columbus are not finalized in time.
However, despite the announcement coming nearly two weeks after the 2018 season ticket deadline, Precourt will not offer a refund to fans who may not want to support a team that will likely move within the next two years.
The Crew currently play at 18-year-old Mapfre Stadium, the first soccer-specific stadium in MLS history, which is located about 3.5 miles from downtown Columbus. The Columbus Dispatch reported Monday that Precourt had grown frustrated with the club's declining revenue and attendance—the Crew's average crowd of 15,439 ranks 20th out of the league's 22 clubs this season.
"As attendance League-wide continues to grow on a record-setting pace, and markets across the country seek to join MLS, Columbus' situation is particularly concerning," MLS commissioner Don Garber said. "Despite significant investments and improvements on and off the field, Columbus Crew SC is near the bottom of the league in all business metrics and the club's stadium is no longer competitive with other venues across MLS.
Precourt purchased the club in 2013 for $68 million and immediately entertained plans to move it. While local Columbus businessmen have attempted to purchase the club, Precourt has remained adamant on a move.