Saturday, October 22, 2016

Vote YES if Precourt Pays for it

Not just rumors this time. Add Columbus Crew SC to the long list of clients for Barrett Sports Group, LLC. BSC is going to assist the MLS franchise in transitioning into life after Crew Stadium.

We are now seven years away from the end of the 25-year stadium lease on the fairgrounds. A blink of an eye in the getting-stadiums-built-world. What that means is that work needs to get started immediately. And it has, in the for of a fan survey.

Clicking around the Barrett Sports Group site it's clear that they have the ability to take a complex issue like modern stadium building, happen. Looking closer at some of the projects they have taken on highlights how the mere existence of a sports group like this is a testament to how tricky the landscape has gotten over the last half century.

It doesn't have to be tricky or complex, however. And you certainly don't need a group like BSG to build something. In fact, comparatively, it can be quite simple: Build it with your own money.

Anthony Precourt has talked about wanting a downtown stadium. While space is tight for any building in a downtown area, money always finds space. It's just a question of where that money comes from. Precourt's hiring of BSG is the first steps in this direction.

Any attempt to work out a stadium deal that puts the burden on the people of Columbus will be met with fierce opposition (one that includes me). This city isn't one that needs another stadium to kickstart some sort of downtown revival. Nationwide and Huntington Park have already crossed that bridge. Nor does it need it to defeat some sort of Freudian inferiority complex that some residents have.

Columbus is a growing city and it's one that is well worth the full investment of Precourt Sports Ventures. A simple and modest downtown stadium would not only make a healthy return, it will also show the world that this town is worth the private investment. What a great message that would send out to the rest of the sports world. A wonderful story to tell.

A few years ago I wrote about the Crew test driving downtown by playing a few games in Huntington Park. It's big enough for a MLS sized field (thank you NYCFC) and seats a good 10k. Why not set this up? I have no doubt that it would prove to PSV that the investment would be worth it.

Playing a regular season game might be challenging, but not impossible. How about play a US Open Cup match or three there. Or schedule a friendly game against a Liga MX side. The buzz alone before the games would generate a groundswell of goodwill locally and national interest. What the team would lose in bodies would easily be made up for in ticket prices and merch sales.

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