COLUMBUS, Ohio – With the recent announcement of a propsed $50 million stadium for D.C. United, and a successful rebranding of Sporting Kansas City that included a new stadium, expectations are high as Precourt Sports Ventures begins its ownership of the Columbus Crew.
When Anthony Precourt was introduced as the team's new chairman on Tuesday, he suggested that things may take a while to develop, and that changes will be coming, but not immediately.
“We’re going to be thoughtful and thorough in the decisions that we make,” he said. “We’re not going to make knee-jerk reactions. Our intent is to come in and have it be status quo here for a while, learn and ask a lot of questions, and by season’s end we’ll start to build our business plan for the following year and we’ll be probably be making some changes."
But what do players make of the potential for change?
"It was a little bit of a surprise, but it's exciting," Crew midfielder Wil Trapp said. "He seems like a very excited owner, and hopefully he'll do big things for us. He came in and introduced himself before they announced it, and he seems like he's really fired up and ready to go."
While every player wants to play in a newer, bigger stadium, Trapp's expectations seem tempered, though a stadium is clearly on his mind.
"You see a bunch of new stadiums that are going up around the league. We can't ask for that right away," he said. "You never know, but it would be cool to get a new stadium. They've been talking about a new training facility as well, so we'll see."
Forward Dominic Oduro says that decisions moving forward should be made with fans in mind, and that greater attendance – and a few player additions – are the only things on his wish list.
"From a players' point of view, more fans [is what we want]. Whatever they can do to get people to come to games," he said. "Marketing strategy or whatever it is to promote the people to see the Columbus Crew out there. We feed off of the crowd when we play, and we can't ask for anything but a better crowd to cheer for us. Hopefully we also see some good players join us."
Head coach Robert Warzycha learned all that he needed to in his limited time with Precourt, and says that he shares the new chairman's goals.
"We know what his vision is. His vision is to be the best team in MLS," he said. "That's what he said to us and that's what he said to me. I'm sure he's going to do everything possible to make this franchise very successful."