Since Columbus Crew Stadium opened on May 15, 1999, in excess of 2 million guests have attended over 155 events in Crew Stadium. In research done by the Greater Columbus Sports Commission and Columbus Crew Stadium, an estimated $125 million has been spent in Columbus directly from Crew Stadium events.
The Crew will celebrate the Fifth Anniversary of Columbus Crew Stadium tomorrow, Saturday, May 15, when the Black & Gold take on the New England Revolution at 4 p.m. in a game which will be televised live nationally on ESPN2.
Crew Stadium, the first major league stadium built specifically for soccer in the U.S., opened on May 15, 1999 when The Crew downed New England, 2-0, before a standing-room-only crowd of 24,741. The opening of Crew Stadium was a signature event for soccer in the U.S. and has helped spawn continued soccer-specific stadium growth in MLS.
In just five short years, Crew Stadium has become a monument for soccer in this country, and played host to a number of high-profile national and international events, including some of the most important soccer matches played in this country. Crew founder Lamar Hunt and family took a major step for soccer in the U.S. by building Crew Stadium. Crew Stadium is a 22,555-seat soccer facility that was constructed in nine months and one day at a cost of $28.5 million.
May 15, 1999 will be a day long remembered as soccer luminaries, city and state officials, and soccer fans from around the country and globe converged on Columbus, Ohio, to be a part of history.
"The opening of Columbus Crew Stadium was a milestone in the development of sports facilities in our community," said Linda Logan, executive director of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission. "Not only did we receive an invaluable amount of international and national exposure for having the first soccer-specific stadium in the nation, but the Crew organization has been instrumental in attracting a wide variety of international and national professional, collegiate and amateur sporting events to Columbus."
Besides the direct spending impact, the numerous high-profile events have generated an enormous amount of exposure and publicity for Crew Stadium and Columbus. Some examples of coverage include the May 15, 1999 Inaugural Game, the 2000 MLS All-Star game and the U.S.-Mexico World Cup Qualifier on Feb. 28, 2001. The Inaugural Game generated more than 80 stories in 40 top 100 newspapers from around the U.S. and totaled an ad equivalent of $676,000. The 2000 MLS All-Star game placed 94 articles in 34 papers with an ad equivalent value of over $801,000, while the U.S.-Mexico qualifier totaled over 121 articles and an ad equivalent of $968,000.
"Crew Stadium's first five years have been very rewarding in several ways," said Crew Stadium General Manager Mark McCullers. "We have established ourselves as a reliable community asset, established a reputation for producing world class events, forged valued relationships and generated significant economic stimulus. I expect the next five years to be even better."