New Columbus Crew president Andy Loughnane arrives with rebrand, new facility the priorities

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After a year of owning the Columbus Crew, chairman and investor-operator Anthony Precourt has configured his front office.

The Crew announced at a press conference before Saturday's sold-out match against the LA Galaxy that the club has hired Andy Loughnane to the newly created position president of business operations.

Loughnane's position replaces the president role formerly held by Mark McCullers, and sets up a head of business to mirror head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter's role as the head of soccer operations.

"For the first time in the Crew's history, we actually have a structure where we have a leader of our soccer operations and a leader in our business operations," Precourt said at the press conference. "We now have our bookends, our team that are going to go out and make the Columbus Crew stronger, better, more attractive on the field and more successful off."

Loughnane previously worked with the NBA's Detroit Pistons, where he oversaw sponsorship and media sales initiatives. He also worked with the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, selling sponsorship and media assets.

"I'm humbled to be back in Columbus," Loughnane said. "This is a wonderful community, a community that represents philanthropy, hard work and success in relationships."

And while he hasn't had a day on the job yet, he believes his previous roles will translate well to MLS.

"I think my experience both in and out of sports will help," he said. "I've been a part of launches of business units both in and out of sports, public companies, startups. I've also been a part of turnarounds, and I'd imagine that a collection of my past in and out of sports will assist with the Crew.

"In fairness, I'm not exactly sure of all of the objectives that we need to accomplish quite yet."

Precourt mentioned increased ticket sales and relationships with the community as short-term priorities, and Loughnane knows that the upcoming Crew rebrand (expected in October) will be a huge part of his new role.

"Anybody who is in this business would want to be part of certain core initiatives, whether that's launching a new franchise, opening a new building or brand evolution," he said. "It's a huge initiative that we're about to embark on. ... Needless to say, it's an important step as we move forward."

And while the focus for much of the conference was on the short term, Precourt revealed that he hasn't forgotten about longer term plans.

"A training facility will be something we'll be revisiting and discussing," he said. "Long term, at some point, Columbus Crew Stadium becomes obsolete. So we need to talk about renovation or relocation within Columbus. We'll cross that bridge when we get there."