COTA Chair Says Possible Crew Move Has "Significantly Altered" Plans For USL Team
COTA Chair Bobby Epstein said that his plans to bring the USL Austin Aztex to the track in '19 have been "significantly altered" by the Crew's possible move to Austin from Columbus, according to Andrew Erickson of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH. Epstein said that due to the "uncertainty surrounding the franchise" and a '19 start date, he and his staff have already "lost a key sponsor and are closing in on deadlines that would make it a challenge to have a soccer team up and running" for the '19 season. Adding to those challenges is what Epstein called a "lack of communication and response from Precourt Sports Ventures," which owns the Crew. Epstein: "They did not either take representative's calls or reach out to us." Epstein said that there is "'zero chance' USL and MLS franchises would be able to coexist in Austin." He said, "We were taking a risk as it was." He added that he and his staff will "reach out to the USL to see what the league would advise and what flexibility they will provide the team moving forward." Epstein hinted that he "might soon need to examine other cities for his USL franchise." Epstein: "I know Columbus, they don't want to look at it as a step down from MLS to USL, but I need a new home" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 11/14).