SBD/August 1, 2013/Franchises

Precourt Reportedly Paid $68M For Crew, Setting New Record For MLS Franchise

Precourt will return to Columbus next week to begin his work with the organization
While the sale price of the MLS Crew was not disclosed, Forbes reported Precourt Sports Ventures acquired the franchise for $68M, the "highest fee paid for an existing" MLS franchise, according to Adam Jardy of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH. Reps for both Hunt Sports Group and PSV declined to comment on the figure. PSV Managing Partner Anthony Precourt will "return to Columbus on Wednesday and start evaluating the organization." He inherits a team "facing long odds to climb back into the playoff picture and facing concerns about the state of its stadium, training facility and financial goals." Precourt also will "start the process of building a legacy at a facility where the first owner, the late Lamar Hunt, is memorialized with a statue outside Crew Stadium." Former MLSer William Hesmer, who played with the Crew from '07-12, said that the change in ownership "could reverse the team’s on-field trend." Hesmer: "The Crew, unfortunately since 2008, hasn’t placed a lot of emphasis on winning. They haven’t done all the little things that other teams have done to really, truly say that we want to win no matter what. Whether that’s a training facility or flight schedules or meals or spending money on players or scouting or whatever it is, they haven’t kept pace in that regard, and I think that frustrates fans. If you really want to grow a fan base ... they don’t want to be involved with somebody who is settling with mediocre" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 8/1).

L.A. CONFIDENTIAL: ESPN's Alexi Lalas, during a discussion with MLS Commissioner Don Garber, said Chivas USA, "on and off the field, is certainly having problems." Lalas: "Do you think it needs fixing and if so, how are you going to help fix it?" Garber responded, "This was an idea to create a Hispanic brand, connect it to Guadalajara and that idea hasn't worked. So we've got to find ways to work with (Chivas USA Owner) Jorge Vergara ... and figure out a solution because Major League Soccer is going on all cylinders throughout the league. We're proud of all the great success that we've had and we deserve to have a successful team, as our fans do, in Los Angeles." Meanwhile, Garber said of the discrimination lawsuit filed against Chivas USA by two former coaches, "This is a club that's got employees representing 15 countries." He continued, "We've spoken to the club. We're going to monitor what happens and I can assure you ... if we find out that anything happened that was inappropriate, the league will act in ways that will ensure that the right thing happens. But let's let the facts play themselves out." Garber: "We have zero-tolerance for anything that can be determined or be thought of as discrimination" ("MLS All-Star Game," ESPN2, 7/31).
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