The night before the Austin City Council was originally going to take action on a potential MLS stadium site downtown, Precourt Sports Ventures president Dave Greeley shed more light on the developing situation.
At MLS2ATX Family Night at Takoba in East Austin, the PSV president mingled with supporters of bringing Columbus Crew SC to the city. Sonny Guadarrama, a former professional player and a graduate of Cedar Park High School, and Lonnie Limon, a project advisor and community leader, spoke at the event.
“No percentages,” Greeley said when asked about the chance of a move. “We’re working hard. We love Austin and we think this would be a great community platform for everyone in Austin to enjoy. We think this has huge benefits for all and if we get the right site, this can happen.”
The Austin City Council released a memo on Tuesday outlining eight potential sites where a stadium and practice facility could be built. The first choice for Greeley and PSV is Butler Shores, located at 200 South Lamar Blvd.
Greeley said that location has checked all the boxes. As for the others sites, some were unfamiliar to PSV and Butler Shores was the only one he confirmed would work for a completely privately financed stadium.
“All sites aren’t created equally,” Greeley said. “Our ability to move a team and activate the rights we have in Austin and privately finance a stadium, it’s 100 percent linked to the quality of the site. We just have to look deeper and that’s part of the community discussion and dialog about if those sites will work or not.”
The City Council was scheduled to take action on the sites at its monthly meeting on Thursday, but it will be delayed as the report stated that a more comprehensive stakeholder process is needed and will take more time to complete.
Soccer sites may still be discussed at Thursday’s meeting, but any action on the subject won't happen until February.
An October survey commissioned by PSV was also released Tuesday and polled 400 Austinites about the stadium. Three of four approved bringing an MLS team to the city and 60 percent approved a privately financed stadium.
Of those polled, 57.3 percent approved using parkland as long as it wasn’t Zilker Park or Auditorium Shores, while 28.6 either disapproved to strongly disapproved of using any parkland whatsoever.
Greeley said Austin is “a 21st century American City” that has the right demographics, attitude, aspirations and passion for the sport.
“We’ve clearly spoken about our challenges in Columbus,” Greeley said. “PSV has strong ambitions as a club. The possibilities in Austin are strong and we’re super bullish on Austin and quite frankly that bullishness gets us through the highs and lows.”
Greeley said things have been crazy ever since Columbus Crew SC owner and investor Anthony Precourt announced in October he was exploring options including relocating the club.
Everything hinges on a stadium site.
“The City of Columbus point blank said we’re not going to talk to you unless you stop the dialogue with Austin,” Greeley said. “That’s a non-starter. We need to consider our strategic options and there’s no doubt in our mind right now that Austin is a strong possibility.”