Those hoping to see Columbus Crew SC play in their new stadium for the start of the 2021 season will have to wait a little bit longer — but not much.
Rather, a more realistic timeline is the summer of 2021, as club president Tim Bezbatchenko revealed to The Columbus Dispatch.
“[The stadium is] going to change the the trajectory of this club forever,” Bezbatchenko said. “There’s going to be some ancillary positive consequences to this that you can’t even approximate and guess about in terms of the culture change that the fans are going to go through.”
Centered in downtown Columbus, the Crew’s new stadium is expected to be a $230-million, 20,000-capacity venue on a 33-acre site. Beyond the stadium, the project includes a riverfront park, nearly 1,000 new residential units and office and commercial space.
The plans are spearheaded by new investors/operators in Dee and Jimmy Haslam, JW and Whitney Johnson and Dr. Pete Edwards. It’s expected to source both public and private money.
The Crew currently play in MAPFRE Stadium, which is the first soccer stadium built for an MLS team. Over the years, MAPFRE has hosted many US vs. Mexico World Cup qualifiers, and their now-famous "Dos a Cero" scoreline. It opened for a May 15, 1999 match against the New England Revolution.
When the Crew's new stadium comes online, MAPFRE would be repurposed into a community sports park.