The Columbus Crew has announced a change in ownership of the Major League Soccer franchise. Jim Letizia reports.
Last October, MLS Commissioner Don Garber told the SportsBusiness Journal website the Hunt family wanted to part ways with Columbus, and the league was encouraging them to do so. The family quickly issued denials, but has been vocal about wanting to find more people locally to become part owners. Now Clark Hunt, chair of Hunt Sports Group, says Precourt Sports Ventures of San Francisco has bought the Crew. Terms of the sale were not disclosed, but effective immediately, the Crew is part of the privately held investment and management firm’s sports and entertainment business enterprise.
Hunt and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman say PSV is not interested in moving the team. Two years after the team was launched in 1996, 22 minority owners controlled 45 percent of the club. The Crew has since kept ownership figures private, but last March, Hunt said his family owned nearly 100 percent of the team. The club was owned by billionaire oil man Lamar Hunt, who also owned two other MLS clubs and the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League until his death in 2006. The Crew moved into the first soccer–specific stadium in the United States in 1999.