Industry News

Plans revealed for new Columbus Crew stadium in Austin

The ownership group of Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise Columbus Crew have unveiled the first renderings of an intended new stadium in Austin as they continue efforts to relocate the team to the Texan city.

Precourt Sports Ventures (PSV) has agreed on a 25-acre site at McKalla Place in north Austin, but still need a final agreement with the city on the site with a goal of achieving this later this month.

The design for the proposed stadium has been put together by Gensler, TBG and CAA Icon. Jonathan Emmett, principal and design director of the Gensler Sports Practice, said: “The soccer park at McKalla Place offers an incredible opportunity to create a world class match-day experience in the urban core of Austin.

“While influenced by great European venues, with intimate seating bowls that put fans right on top of the action, we are also drawing heavily on the incredibly diverse and vibrant local culture, to create a uniquely ‘Austin’ experience for MLS fans. The venue and match-day experience will incorporate strong local influences on food & beverage; live music and technology. Careful orientation and the design of the roof canopy will ensure ample shading while strategically placed open corners will allow for cooling breezes.

“The soccer park will provide the local community with a network of amenities and landscaped spaces, in and around the venue, that will be active on gamedays and non gamedays alike. Austinites have a strong connection to the outdoors and recreation, the soccer park will provide access to great landscaped spaces and trails to an area of the city that is underserved in this respect.”

PSV confirmed in October that it was exploring the option of moving the team to Austin, stating that its current business model is unsustainable. The Crew began play in 1996 as one of the 10 charter clubs of MLS and has been owned by PSV since 2013. The club said the decision was taken due to the growing disparity in attendance and corporate support compared to its MLS peers and other mid-size markets such as Kansas City, Orlando, Portland and Salt Lake City.

The Crew has played at Mapfre Stadium (pictured) since 1999, but the League’s first soccer-specific stadium is now showing its age. Columbus and its home state, Ohio, in March filed a lawsuit designed to prevent the possible loss of the team.

Image: RichDikeman