The movement to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to Austin gained an important ally Thursday, with the Austin Chamber of Commerce throwing its support behind moving Columbus Crew SC to the Texas capital.
The Chamber will host an event at 9 a.m. Friday morning where it will urge Austin city leaders to work with Precourt Sports Ventures to make the move happen. A resolution was adopted by the executive committee on behalf of the board of directors on Feb. 2.
“(Crew SC owner Anthony) Precourt has demonstrated its commitment to the Austin community especially with their goal of playing the entire 2019 season in Austin just 13 months from now,” the resolution states. “City of Austin leaders only have a limited window of time to act for a realistic shot at a Major League Soccer franchise. If not, the extraordinary opportunity goes away for the foreseeable future.”
Drew Scheberle, senior vice president of the Chamber, said PSV President Dave Greeley spoke to the board on Jan. 28 to make the case for MLS as a valuable part of the city’s business sector.
“We realized we needed to make a pretty quick show of support for this,” Scheberle said. “We’ve got a limited window of time, so let’s do it. Let’s get it done quickly.”
The Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce will also be at the event Friday to support MLS coming to Austin.
“Sports and a very active lifestyle is very important for our community, so I think bringing in a sports team like that is important,” said Edgar Gierbolini, the president and CEO of the LGBT Chamber.
The process has been slow-moving since PSV announced it was exploring the move in October, with multiple delays since the city first identified five potential stadium sites on Dec. 12. Sites that have yet to be eliminated by PSV are Roy G. Guerrero Park and McKalla Place near the Domain.
“We’re still real excited about the chance of Major League Soccer coming to Austin,” Mayor Steve Adler said in a statement Thursday. “We just need to find the right site, and the sooner the better. I understand there’s nothing to come before the Council quite yet but that efforts are continuing.”
Greeley will also be present at the Friday event at the Chamber. PSV provided a statement from lobbyist Richard Suttle in response to the Chamber resolution.
“We appreciate the boards of the Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Austin LGBT Chamber passing a resolution of support to illustrate their support of bringing Major League Soccer to Austin.
“We have been in discussions with all of the area’s chambers of commerce about the benefits a major league sports team would bring to this community.
“We are pleased these groups are making a statement by saying ‘having a Major League Soccer team in Austin would be good for our economy and our community.’ We anticipate similar messages of support coming from other local chambers in the very near future.”