By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
  1. Dan Loney

    Dan Loney BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 10, 2000
    Cincilluminati
    Club:
    Los Angeles Sol
    Country:
    Philippines
    #1 Dan Loney, Oct 17, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017

    Stay Home, Crew

    By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
    Serves me right for dawdling. Few things are more amusing to me than someone trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and failing miserably. That was Sunil’s press conference. Sure, he brought a lot of it on himself, but still.

    “I don’t think Bruce’s resignation will be enough, sir. They want you to resign, too.”

    “Hm. Time to turn on the ol’ Gulati charm!”

    But we’ll have plenty of time, sadly, to discuss Sunil Gulati. There’s a bigger issue in MLS right now. Anthony Precourt is talking about moving the Columbus Crew to Austin’s city limits.

    “Despite our investments and efforts, the current course is not sustainable,” Anthony Precourt, chief executive officer of Precourt Sports Ventures and chairman of Columbus Crew SC, said. “This Club has ambition to be a standard bearer in MLS, therefore we have no choice but to expand and explore all of our options. This includes a possible move to Austin, which is the largest metropolitan area in North America without a major league sports franchise. Soccer is the world’s game, and with Austin’s growing presence as an international city, combined with its strong multicultural foundation, MLS in Austin could be an ideal fit."

    “As attendance League-wide continues to grow on a record-setting pace, and markets across the country seek to join MLS, Columbus’ situation is particularly concerning,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “Despite PSV’s significant investments and improvements on and off the field, Columbus Crew SC is near the bottom of the League in all business metrics and the Club’s stadium is no longer competitive with other venues across MLS. The League is very reluctant to allow teams to relocate, but based on these factors, we support PSV’s efforts to explore options outside of Columbus, including Austin, provided they find a suitable stadium location.”

    In the words of Talleyrand, “Worse than a crime, a mistake.”

    Usually I'd want to wait until the goldfish actually dies before flushing the toilet, but just announcing this publicly has done a lot of damage. This is an ugly milestone in Major League Soccer – a viable team leaving one market for another. What tiny moral obligation there was for American soccer fans to support MLS for the sake of the sport has evaporated. If you have a favorite MLS team, have a favorite MLS team. But if the soccer gods are capricious, Mammon is even more so. Holding cities hostage for public stadium money is something only the very biggest and greediest teams and leagues can even consider. I’m happy for Garber and Precourt that they think the Crew and MLS are in that category.

    But I think Garber should be taking Mr. Precourt aside gently and telling him Aesop’s fable of the The Boy Who Wrecked Himself Because He Didn’t Check Himself. Precourt is one of Garber’s bosses, but he is only one of Garber’s bosses, and Precourt is more likely to be screwing things up than not.

    In fact, with some care, attention, resources and hard work, it’s possible that this might even do more damage to the league than the US men’s national team missing the World Cup.

    Garber and Precourt at least have the sense to cry poverty, but that doesn’t wash. Wimbledon had no stadium. Spartan Stadium was a poor (but hilarious) stadium for soccer even by 1996 standards, and as I remember San Jose State was sick of the Earthquakes messing up their turf anyway.

    Meanwhile, Columbus Crew Stadium is a soccer-specific stadium. Pretty sure I read that somewhere. Hey, here are some fun facts. It hosted an MLS Cup in 2015, and a World Cup qualifier in 2016. If Yankee Stadium is suitable for Major League Soccer indefinitely, then so is Columbus Crew Stadium.

    Another reason moving teams around is a short-sighted idea is that we’re currently in the middle of an expansion luau. Why should anyone pay an expansion fee when they can just skank an existing team? This may be good for individual owners in middling markets, but owners in more secure markets shouldn’t put up with it. Itinerant teams are less valuable than stable teams. Ask the Spanos family how much the Los Angeles Chargers are pulling in drawing less than the Galaxy.

    This should also go without saying, but just because an immediate dollar value can’t be placed on fan loyalty does not mean that there won’t be financial consequences for abusing that loyalty. There is an event horizon to how much fans will pay for private entertainment at public expense, let alone public expense that continues after the private entertainment leaves town. Again, the Los Angeles Chargers leap to mind – but so does St. Louis, proud owners of the Whatever It’s Called Now Dome.

    If Austin falls through – and these things do have a tendency to mash the undo button – then how does Precourt imagine he will sell any tickets in Ohio? Or, for that matter, in Texas? Overnight Anthony Precourt has taken fan loyalty that was way out of proportion to America’s mainstream acceptance, and tossed in the In-Sink-Erator. If this can happen to Columbus, the league’s first franchise, it can happen to anyone. Everyone’s stadium will be twenty years old someday.

    There are a couple of other fairly obvious business considerations. I don’t know if Precourt has checked the Hexagonal standings, but the quadrennial World Cup bump has been postponed on orders from Bruce Arena and Román Torres. We’re about to find out whether the league can survive without oxygen being pumped in from the US men’s national team, and here’s this freaking guy acting like he owns an NFL team.

    I’m also not sure if Precourt was clued in on the legal front, but the NASL is currently suing MLS as a conspirator to create a monopoly. Precourt moving his franchise states away based on a more attractive stadium deal is providing aid and comfort to the enemy. Even the NASL should be able to get some mileage out of this.

    Even if you buy the premise that this is desirable, there’s no reason to aggravate literally thousands of fans in the middle of a lawsuit, a week after the lowest point in the history of the sport in America. The shortsighted clumsiness of it all is baffling. Toying with the loyalty of fans presupposes the loyalties are there to be toyed with. In 2017, that’s no longer a given, let alone for Major League Soccer. MLS might not be tall enough for this ride.

    If Anthony Precourt wants a team in Austin, then let him have a team in Austin. Right after he sells the Columbus Crew and pays the expansion fee out of the proceeds.
     

Comments

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Dan Loney, Oct 17, 2017.

    1. Bill Archer

      Bill Archer BigSoccer Supporter

      Mar 19, 2002
      Washington, NC
      Club:
      Columbus Crew
      Country:
      United States
      #2 Bill Archer, Oct 17, 2017
      Last edited: Oct 17, 2017

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      You are 100% correct. No one needs to be fooled, this is a Don Garber production from start to finish.

      From the secret codicil giving Precourt ownership of the Austin market to the letter from over a month ago giving the other owners a heads up, Don called this entire deal.

      He who loves to wax on about MLS "transparency" has played this from behind the curtain like the Wizard of Oz.

      He has even stood by while the Crew moved up the preseason ticket sales and renewal deadline so that all credit card charges posted yesterday and the Crew is refusing to even discuss refunds.

      This is Garber without the PR aura: a soulless asshole who cares not a whit about the sport.

      And this is not even to mention that he's been lying to San Antonio all along. He knew Precourt was moving the Crew and he knew that there's no way in hell MLS would approve FOUR teams in Texas. Sorry boys - you've been used like five dollar whores.

      It's easy to blame Precourt, whose lies and deceits are there for all to see. Hrs a worthlrss crapweasel prep-school, frat-boy, trust fund baby playing with daddys money. Cant blame him for being the fat turd that he is.

      But this is who Garber is, 100%.

      Die in fire, you pile of crap.
       
    2. TOAzer

      TOAzer Member

      May 29, 2016
      Club:
      New England Revolution

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      Wow...just Wow..... what the hell are you thinking, Don Garber?? .... It's only Fall, and yet it seems that this Winter of Our Discontent is already far too long....
       
      Nacional Tijuana repped this.
    3. SilentAssassin

      Apr 16, 2007
      St. Louis

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      As someone from St. Louis who has seen the NFL leave our city twice, and seen MLS use the market repeatedly to try and extort more money from taxpayers in other cities, one of the things I've always been attracted to in most soccer leagues is that they don't artificially limit the number of franchises to create competition for franchises from different cities. I know Crew fans in particular will be hurting if they lose their team, and I'm sure a lot of MLS fans in general won't be happy about it, but maybe you will start to see a major benefit of pro/rel.

      I used to watch the Rams religiously every week, but now I really couldn't care less about the NFL. I think MLS fans often take pride in the fact that their sport is "different" than the money-grubbing NFL, MLB, etc., but don't kid yourselves. If there was a true pyramid, and the St. Louis team was part of it, I would follow it even if they weren't always in the top division. Why? Because it's my city, and it would be a source of pride if we could say that our (hypothetical, alternate reality) team was where Josh Sargent, Taylor Twellman, and Vedad Ibisevic got their start, even if they didn't stay long. And we could always fondly remember the St. Louis team that made up half of the 1950 World Cup team which beat England. I imagine Columbus fans would feel the same way about their team. But now? Most of them will probably be turned off to MLS forever. Me? I love soccer, but it's hard to get very excited about MLS when they pull the same stunts the NFL does.
       
    4. winster

      winster Member

      Jul 7, 2008
      Club:
      Besiktas JK
      Country:
      United States

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      The crazy thing about all of this is that Precourt owns the Crew's current stadium. The Columbus Crew SC may well be losing money like Precourt and Garber claim. However, this is probably only due to the neat accounting trick of hiding the stadium assets in a separate company from the Crew themselves.

      Regardless of whether the entire enterprise is profitable, the stadium as an individual asset is almost certainly profitable. Precourt gets all the concessions money. He gets all the stadium sponsorship money (reportedly worth millions [plural] over the life of the contract with Mapfre). He gets a cut of the money from all the rock concerts, high school football games, monster truck rallies and US National Team games that are played in the stadium. The stadium is definitely profitable.

      Which brings me to another point. Mapfre Stadium wasn't too outdated nor was it too "uncompetitive" for USSoccer to host 2 men's national team games and 1 women's national team game there over the past 1 1/2 years.
       
    5. MM66

      MM66 Member

      Mar 9, 2009
      Brookline, MA
      Club:
      Real Madrid

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      But at least MLS is protecting us from the evils of relegation.

      Welcome to the dark side of being a fanboy of billionaire investors. And don't think for a second this is happening without Don Garber's tacit blessing.
       
      Philbert53 repped this.
    6. AlbertCamus

      AlbertCamus Member+

      Colorado Rapids
      Sep 2, 2005
      Colorado, USA
      Club:
      Colorado Rapids

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      Best Dan Loney article in memory, well put and spot on.
       
    7. Dan Loney

      Dan Loney BigSoccer Supporter

      Mar 10, 2000
      Cincilluminati
      Club:
      Los Angeles Sol
      Country:
      Philippines

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      (1) Crew nowhere near relegation, Austin didn't have team to promote (2) Mexico has relegation and relocations (3) Not everything is about your favorite donut flavor
       
      Honore de Ballsac repped this.
    8. Dan Loney

      Dan Loney BigSoccer Supporter

      Mar 10, 2000
      Cincilluminati
      Club:
      Los Angeles Sol
      Country:
      Philippines

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      Was there some nonsense about leasing the land from the fairgrounds? Not that it would justify moving the team at all.
       
    9. kgilbert78

      kgilbert78 Member+

      Dec 28, 2006
      Cowlumbus, OH
      Club:
      Borussia Mönchengladbach
      Country:
      United States

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      Yes--the state owns the land. They had a 10 year agreement. But it contained a secret "out clause" for Austin when it was signed 5 years ago.
       
    10. MM66

      MM66 Member

      Mar 9, 2009
      Brookline, MA
      Club:
      Real Madrid

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      Note to self: start eating donuts and pick a favorite flavor so I have a snappy comeback for this.

      I find it ironic to read you insisting our overlords may not be so benevolent after the jag you've been on in recent months where you've boldly stood up for the moneyed and powerful. Pro-rel was just one of the rhetorical whips you've used to drive the unclean away from the altar of MLS/U.S. Soccer. Meanwhile they've got Columbus on a slab with a knife above its heart.
       
    11. kgilbert78

      kgilbert78 Member+

      Dec 28, 2006
      Cowlumbus, OH
      Club:
      Borussia Mönchengladbach
      Country:
      United States

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      Pro/rel does not stop teams from going bankrupt and essentially disappearing. Lets be real--legally Rangers is not the *real* Rangers for one. Then there's the once most popular team in Bavaria: Munich 1860. Essentially gone--forcibly sent to the 4th division. Sure clubs get refounded with the same or similar names. But it's not exactly the same either. Let's not pretend that pro/rel is some kind of panacea. Too many clubs have gone bankrupt following that route. Most teams are now clubs in name only--the team itself has been incorporated and is separate from the club--and even has owners and can be bought and sold. Or you get "plastic" teams like RB Leipzig and Hoffenheim.

      The franchise system has its flaws. I know--I'm a Crew supporter--but so does pro/rel.
       
      russ, Beau Dure, BalanceUT and 1 other person repped this.
    12. Dan Loney

      Dan Loney BigSoccer Supporter

      Mar 10, 2000
      Cincilluminati
      Club:
      Los Angeles Sol
      Country:
      Philippines

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      Big Four accounting firms, and those that hire them, answer that description. If you believe promotion and relegation somehow helps the poor against the rich, you have been sadly misinformed.
       
      Guinho repped this.
    13. MM66

      MM66 Member

      Mar 9, 2009
      Brookline, MA
      Club:
      Real Madrid

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      It's not about pro-rel. It's about ass kissing the MLS hierarchy. Point is MLS is a league of the rich dudes for the rich dudes by the rich dudes. Sure, that's standard for any sports league, but this column likes to insist it's working in our best interests. I'm saying that's a load of crap, peddled by crap merchants.

      Make sure to thank Don Garber as your team walks away.
       
    14. kgilbert78

      kgilbert78 Member+

      Dec 28, 2006
      Cowlumbus, OH
      Club:
      Borussia Mönchengladbach
      Country:
      United States

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      Given that pro-rel was the first words out of your mouth in this discussion.....
       
      C-bus and BalanceUT repped this.
    15. MM66

      MM66 Member

      Mar 9, 2009
      Brookline, MA
      Club:
      Real Madrid

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      There you go again.

      I believe you ought to wear your sponsorship(s) on the front of your shirt. Anyone with half a brain knows pro-rel is an academic discussion, but you flog the living hell out of it. All I've got to do is make a snide offhand comment about it and you're trying to construct a shield out of it. It's not about pro-rel, it's about you being a suck up.
       
    16. MM66

      MM66 Member

      Mar 9, 2009
      Brookline, MA
      Club:
      Real Madrid

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      Are you familiar with the concept of sarcasm?
       
    17. Anthony

      Anthony Member+

      Aug 20, 1999
      Chicago
      Club:
      DC United
      Country:
      United States

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM


      (I still want to know how they got that past the censors)
       
    18. Honore de Ballsac

      Oct 28, 2005
      France.

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      I guess if I'm going to have an uncomfortable disagreement with Bowie, it's going to be with blowhard coked-out Thin White Duke Bowie.
       
    19. Honore de Ballsac

      Oct 28, 2005
      France.

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      Dumb question, but you guys have to come right out and say things in big letters for me to get it. Is this a hedged bet, with a new downtown Columbus stadium being one of two acceptable outcomes? Or is Garber/MLS using Precourt as a henchman to clear the way for Cinci, Nashville, maybe Detroit, capture Austin and remake the MLS Central Division?
       
    20. kgilbert78

      kgilbert78 Member+

      Dec 28, 2006
      Cowlumbus, OH
      Club:
      Borussia Mönchengladbach
      Country:
      United States

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      Wouldn't shock me.
       
    21. Honore de Ballsac

      Oct 28, 2005
      France.

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      As a Quakes fan, I'm surprised at all the outrage I'm reading. The innocence lost.

      If Garber was gonna take a crossbow bolt on the toilet for this kinda thing, I wish it happened in 2005.
       
    22. American Brummie

      Jun 19, 2009
      Florida
      Club:
      Birmingham City FC
      Country:
      United States

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      C-bus and Anthony repped this.
    23. kgilbert78

      kgilbert78 Member+

      Dec 28, 2006
      Cowlumbus, OH
      Club:
      Borussia Mönchengladbach
      Country:
      United States

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
    24. Honore de Ballsac

      Oct 28, 2005
      France.

      Stay Home, Crew

      By Dan Loney on Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11 PM
      Promised a return to San Jose because their move and handling of it was so publicly egregious... really disgraceful... and by the time they officially made the move Garber already had maybe the worst owner in sports lined up to buy our cadaver for peanuts.

      It was a move made to make Anshutz happy. He didn't want to be in San Jose, and he did want to be in Houston, so he got a championship team in what was at the time the most coveted market without paying an expansion fee.

      Please don't tell me you think AEG - or anyone with money - made an honest effort to build a stadium for Quakes.2
       
      American Brummie repped this.

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