Director of Media Relations
News Date: March 05, 2018
City of Columbus Joins Ohio Attorney General In Lawsuit of Precourt Sports Ventures and Major League Soccer
The City of Columbus joined a lawsuit filed today by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine against Precourt Sports Ventures and Major League Soccer in their attempt to move Columbus Crew SC to Austin.
“As I have said, we believe Columbus Crew SC belongs in Columbus. We have a rich history of professional soccer and some of the most loyal and dedicated fans in the league,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “Just as importantly, the team plays in a taxpayer-supported facility, and Precourt Sports Ventures and Major League Soccer have accepted financial assistance from the state of Ohio and the City of Columbus. State law provides us with this protection.”
“Columbus residents have supported the Crew not just with their spirit, but also with their wallets,” said City Attorney Zach Klein. “This statute is in place to prevent owners from taking taxpayer benefits, and then shopping their team to the next highest bidder. Given the financial support that has been provided by the City and the State, it’s only fair that we can exercise our options under the law before the Crew can relocate our city’s team.”
The statute is a narrowly written, common sense response to owners who accept taxpayer benefits from one location then shop their teams elsewhere. Ohio Revised Code requires that the owner of a professional sports team that uses a tax-supported facility and receives financial assistance from the state or a political subdivision give six months’ notice to the political subdivision of its intention to stop playing at the facility, during which any individual or group of individuals who reside in the area must be given an opportunity to purchase the team.
DeWine sent notice to Precourt Sports Ventures on December 8, 2017, to reiterate its obligation under Ohio Law. He received no communication from Precourt Sport Venture, prompting the lawsuit.