Crew Draw Small Crowd To Home Opener Amid Relocation Talks
The Crew drew 11,098 fans for Saturday's home opener at the 19,968-seat Mapfre Stadium against the Impact, and that number will be "parsed, fricasseed and molded to different interpretations," according to Michael Arace of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH. There was a time when the Crew "led the league in attendance." There was "never, ever a time when the Crew was the worst draw in the league." But it is "anybody’s guess how the league processes its attendance figures." Supporter group Save The Crew and its offshoot, Fill The Fre, sold tickets, and they "faced a mid-March game and mercurial late-winter weather." They "sold the tickets themselves and made a fine job of it" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 3/11). A COLUMBUS DISPATCH editorial stated the Crew's legacy "must not be The Move." If any doors "remain open to keep the Crew in Columbus, all options should continue to be explored." The "ultimate fate" of the team is a "worthy first test of provisions of the Modell Law," which was created in '96 after the Browns were moved to Baltimore (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 3/10).
MIXED FEELINGS: In Austin, Thomas Jones notes Fox Sports' Alexi Lalas "admitted having mixed feelings about the Crew's potential relocation." Lalas said, "I’m seeing firsthand that Austin is a dynamic soccer city that has a lot of elements that MLS likes; a Hispanic market, a healthy tech industry and a young population. Millennials are soccer fans." Lalas also "lamented the possibility of Columbus "losing its beloved squad." He added, "I sympathize because they are great fans, but they have an owner (Anthony Precourt) that has been open about wanting to leave" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 3/12).