A few months ago, Precourt Sports Ventures, the company that owns the Columbus Crew SC soccer team, delivered a proposal to develop a new professional soccer stadium in Austin, Texas. The stadium would replace the pro soccer team’s current homefield, Mapfre Stadium, in Columbus, OH, where the team has played since 1999.
Precourt Sports Ventures proposed building the new stadium at McKalla Place near The Domain, an area considered Austin’s “second downtown”.
According to Jonathan Emmett, design director of Gensler Sports Practice, the proposed stadium will be “influenced by great European venues... we are also drawing heavily on the incredibly diverse and vibrant local culture, to create a uniquely ‘Austin’ experience for MLS fans,"
On the surface, the move means Austin would inherit its first-ever professional sports team. But the possibility of Columbus Crew’s relocation to a new state obviously comes as sad news to much of the team’s fan-base in Ohio. So what does a new stadium mean for Austin and its residents?
Here’s what we think locals can expect:
It Could Bolster Austin’s Second Downtown
Austin has experienced unprecedented growth over the last several decades. As a confluence of tech businesses and artists have made their way to Austin, the city has gained a national reputation as a fun place to live, an advantageous place to continue one’s career, and a choice destination for living amongst inspiring artists at the top of their game.
The Domain is considered Austin’s second downtown. It is a bustling, relatively new area complete with delicious restaurants, shopping areas, and popular, newly developed residential condos and houses.
It’s likely that a soccer stadium would continue to help grow the character and popularity of this part of town.
Home Values May Go Up
Austin home values are on the climb. As one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., Austin housing prices appreciate at a faster rate than most other cities. It is a popular place to live, so naturally, it’s also a popular place to buy.
One of the key drivers of Austin’s growth has been its many businesses. The area boasts awesome employment opportunities, eclectic places to shop, and a business-friendly ambition driving a lot of local policy. A new stadium would only add to the already-impressive local growth.
A major soccer stadium means bringing a huge new business to Austin. Will this help property values near the stadium?
According to a study performed by Researchgate about houses near Fedex Field in Maryland, “a new stadium improves housing values in the surrounding area.”
We’ll Inherit a Solid Team
The professional U.S. soccer league is divided into Eastern and Western Conferences.
As of the writing of this article, Columbus Crew currently ranks #4 in the Eastern Conference, which means Austin could inherit one of the best pro soccer teams in the country.
A New Reason for Tourism
Austin is a tourist-friendly place. As it stands, tourism contributes about $7 billion each year to the local economy.
It’s not a surprise. Austin hosts countless concerts every year, large and small. It is home to several renowned music festivals, and has become a choice destination for many conferences and other events. And that doesn’t even include day-to-day attractions such as beautiful hiking trails, whacky stores, and temperate year-round weather that gives Austin its unique character.
After all, you don’t become the #1 place to visit in Texas for nothing.
It’s safe to guess that Austin’s tourism will grow even more once we have our own professional sports team.
Now that I mention it...
Austin Will Finally have Its Own Sports Team!
Austin is many things. It is the Live Music Capital of the World. It is also home to the largest urban bat colony that you’ll find anywhere on Earth. Publications big and small have respectively called us the best place to retire, move to, invest in, and so on.
It turns out, we are also the largest U.S. city without its own professional sports team, according to the BBC.
So: If Columbus Crew decides to relocate to Austin, we’ll just have to give up one of the many reasons people are talking about Austin, Texas.