Time will tell whether Anthony Precourt is a step offside, but he's gotten a jump on unveiling what the Columbus Crew's future would look like should the club relocate to Austin, Texas.
Precourt Sports Ventures revealed the Austin FC name and club branding for the potential franchise–whose existence has yet to be confirmed–at a rally in the Texas capital on Wednesday night. A court hearing is set for Sept. 4 in Ohio, in which the state of Ohio will look to invoke the Modell Law and prevent Precourt from moving the MLS original franchise from the only city it's ever known.
Yet with that looming and despite emailing season ticket holders earlier this week to renew for the 2019 season in Columbus, Precourt, the club's owner since 2013, is moving full steam ahead on his plan to bring the club south. The prospective team name is in line with recent MLS expansion franchises, opting for city name and pairing it with one of FC/United. The crest is green, white and black and features the city name in big lettering above a tree flanked by the letters "F" and "C." PSV offered the following explanation:
Many astute social media users noted the similarity between the crest and a tifo created by Crew supporters during the 2017 postseason, which depicted a tree and included the slogan "Respect Your Roots."
It would appear that Precourt is fully preparing to yank the club from its current soil and plant new roots in Texas. Those new roots would be taking hold underneath a privately financed, $200 million, 20,000-seat stadium at McKalla Place, some 10 miles north of downtown Austin.
PSV has unveiled stadium renderings for the venue, which wouldn't be ready until 2021 and came closer to fruition after an Austin City Council vote last week.
There's still a chance that none of this happens, of course, with the pending litigation hanging over everything and groups in Columbus rallying to try and keep the franchise put. But the signs appear to be pointing to a move, and it's something PSV is fully preparing to see through.
"Given the historical and ongoing market challenges, Precourt Sports Ventures must prepare for every potential scenario for the Club in 2019 and beyond," PSV said in a statement on MLS's official website. "Should Austin be granted the requisite approvals ahead of the 2019 season, it will be imperative to launch with momentum and a presence to ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of the Club. Normal business operations shall continue in Columbus for the balance of the 2018 season where winning an MLS Cup remains the objective."