Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam hope to save the Crew

Haslam's partner to keep the MLS team in Columbus

Daryl Ruiter
October 12, 2018 - 4:21 pm
Jimmy Haslam Cleveland Browns owner

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam have partnered with a Columbus investment group to help save the Columbus Crew.

Pete Edwards Jr., and the Haslams in conjunction with the Columbus Partnership are working on plans to keep the MLS club in Columbus following a year-long battle with current owner Anthony Precourt, who had been trying to relocate the franchise to Austin, Texas.

“We value and appreciate the benefits a professional sports franchise can bring to a community and are hopeful to be part of the solution to keep the Crew in Columbus,” the Haslams said in a statement. “We would invest in a strong infrastructure within the Crew organization so that we can continue our focus and commitment to building a winning Cleveland Browns football team in Northeast Ohio. We look forward to seeing how this process evolves.”

Precourt, the owner of Precourt Sports Ventures or PSV, is expected to be granted rights to a franchise there as part of this agreement should it be approved MLS announced Friday.

“MLS also remains very committed to PSV’s plan to launch an MLS Club in Austin and is excited for Austin to become a great addition to MLS,” the league said. “We will continue to work with PSV and the City of Austin on the timing around the launch of that Club.”

It is unclear how substantial of an ownership stake the Haslams will have in the club but discussions about a new stadium and training facilities are underway.

“Major League Soccer and the Columbus Partnership have been working together for several months on a plan to keep the Crew in Columbus and we have made significant progress,” MLS said in a statement.

“MLS, the Columbus Partnership and the investor group all agree that for the Club to be successful, it requires strong local owners, long-term corporate support, a strong season ticket base and long-term plans for a stadium, practice facilities and associated sites.”

Although the Browns have struggled on the field since the Haslams purchased the Browns in 2012, they spearheaded a $125 million overhaul of FirstEnergy Stadium in cooperation with the city of Cleveland as well as a complete transformation of their training facility in Berea, Ohio in cooperation with city leaders there.