COTA Chair Says USL Austin Franchise Could Fall Through If Crew Relocate To City
Circuit of the Americas Chair Bobby Epstein, who announced in August that he was launching a USL franchise in '19, said that his project is "not viable if an MLS team comes to Austin," according to Kevin Lyttle of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. Epstein said, "We believe the Crew are coming to Austin and look forward to them bringing pro soccer to our city. ... If their plans change, we would be happy to re-energize our efforts, but at this stage, we are nearly too late for 2019." Epstein has "unveiled plans for a 5,000-seat stadium at the motorsports and entertainment complex in Southeast Austin." The Austin City Council on Thursday "moved all discussion and any action regarding a potential MLS stadium site to Feb. 15, 2018, a full eight weeks after it was originally scheduled to take place." This was the "second delay in a week, following one that initially pushed the date back to Feb. 1." Epstein "does not have an existing franchise -- with management, staff and a roster -- already in place" and is "starting from scratch." Epstein: "Construction and search processes are not overnight events. We were pursuing a very ambitious timeline and planned to already be through the infrastructure design and permitting phase, with a coach in place and season tickets on sale in less than 60 days. How do you market a team, search for corporate sponsors or sell season tickets if you’re not even sure you’ll be here?" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 12/15).