Columbus Crew SC - warming up at MAPFRE Stadium

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Columbus Crew SC are investigating the possibility of building a new stadium.

A team spokesperson confirmed Monday that consulting firm Barrett Sports Group LLC has been contracted by Precourt Sports Ventures to look into fans’ feelings on issues related to a new stadium.

“Precourt Sports Ventures hired a national expert to look at the feasibility of a new stadium in Columbus,” the spokesperson said. “The analysis is part of due diligence related to strategic planning for what a stadium could look like and what the demand would be.”

A survey, sent to a variety of Columbus fans, claims the team is in “preliminary stages of assessing the potential demand for the development of a new stadium in Columbus.”

Precourt Sports Ventures, led by owner Anthony Precourt, purchased Crew SC – then the Columbus Crew – in July of 2013.

The team currently plays in MAPFRE Stadium (formerly known as Columbus Crew Stadium), which hosted its first game in 1999. Crew SC consider the venue the first soccer-specific stadium in America.

MAPFRE Stadium is in Columbus, but not located downtown. Some have speculated that as the stadium ages, Precourt may be interested in a new stadium downtown, emulating teams like Orlando City SC or the Portland Timbers.

Precourt himself has been quiet about stadium plans, but in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Brian Straus in 2013, he made it clear that he would prefer a downtown stadium.

"I think if we were to do it all over again, if we'd been in Columbus since the beginning, being closer to downtown in an urban environment is what's most important," he said. "Crew Stadium isn't a destination place right now. You want to have bars and restaurants and things around, nightlife, retail.

“People can go out to the fairground and tailgate and go to the game, but it would be nice if they had a local pub nearby. It's something we're considering and talking about. The supporters have asked us about that. They want their own pub at the stadium."