Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam are part of group exploring the purchase of the Columbus Crew to keep the MLS team in the city.
Major League Soccer said in a statement Friday that the ownership group is moving forward to acquire the team, which appeared headed to Austin, Texas, after 22 years in central Ohio. Details, which include plans for a new stadium, still have to be worked out. MLS said the arrangement will include an expansion team in Austin, where city officials have already cleared the way for the construction of a new, privately owned stadium. Crew owner Anthony Precourt had courted Austin for a potential move since last year, contending that the team was no longer financially viable in Columbus without a new stadium. The Columbus Partnership, a group of the area's most powerful corporations, is involved in the effort. The partnership is headed by Alex Fischer, who is personal friends with Jimmy Haslam. In 2016, the two men launched an unsuccessful effort to use taxpayer money to build a training facility in Columbus for the Browns.