Anthony Precourt has decided that Austin, Texas is a better venue for his soccer business than the present location in Columbus, Ohio. It is that simple, Precourt would prefer his Major League Soccer team, the Columbus Crew, be based in Austin. It is his team, not the fans, and he can do what he wants. Precourt is negotiating a deal with the Austin city council that will, he hopes, ultimately lead to getting a soccer stadium built with all the revenue generating gadgets possible. He claims he will foot the bill for the building. Austin city elected officials will be giving him something that will help his financial burden, just what that might be will be announced once the deal is done. Meanwhile in Columbus, city officials vow to fight to keep the soccer team in town. The MLS team is not a city asset, it is privately owned team and using a city asset, a stadium.
The Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein is preparing to go to court and force Precourt or Major League Soccer to remain in the Ohio capital. “That’s exactly what we’re going to do here in a couple of weeks in September is go to court and explain to the court why we believe that the Modell law is valid. It’s constitutional and it should be applied right here in the City of Columbus.” The Modell Law is named after one time Cleveland Browns owner, the late Art Modell, who in 1995 moved his business, the NFL Cleveland Browns to Baltimore. In 1996, Ohio Revised Code 9.6 was put into law. Ohio lawmakers told Ohio sports owners that if the owner’s business is using a tax supported stadium and gets financial assistance that owner cannot move unless he works out a deal to leave. Precourt has a lease in Columbus through 2023. The Modell Law will be tested soon.