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MLS franchise Columbus Crew acquired by Precourt

Published July 30, 2013 3:39 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The original ownership group of the Columbus Crew wasn't looking to sell. Instead, Hunt Sports Group was seeking a local investor to purchase a minority share in the MLS franchise.

Once businessman Anthony Precourt began to learn more about the club, though, it was only a matter of time before he could convince Hunt Sports Group to sell the entire franchise.

The deal was announced Tuesday, the day before the league's annual All-Star game. Precourt Sports Ventures LLC will take over operating rights to the franchise from the company run by Clark Hunt, whose late father Lamar Hunt helped prop up the league nearly 20 years ago.

The Crew, which won the MLS Cup in 2008, is one of the charter members of the league.

"We have long believed in the ascension of soccer in the American sports-entertainment world," Precourt said in a statement. "We thank the Hunt family for having the trust in us to become the Crew's new steward. The Hunt family has done so much for MLS, and the development of the game in Ohio, and for that we thank them."

Hunt, whose family also owns the Kansas City Chiefs, called it a "bittersweet" day for his family and company. But he also made it clear that Hunt Sports Group will remain active in MLS through its ownership of FC Dallas.