By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
  1. Bill Archer

    Bill Archer BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 19, 2002
    Washington, NC
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #1 Bill Archer, Mar 6, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018

    Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

    By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
    How bad have things gotten for MLS' favorite arrogant, clueless and incompetent "owner" in his quest to move the league's original team to Austin?

    Well, aside from all the "Precourt Out!" and "End Corporate Greed" demonstrators, the airplane sign circling over downtown telling him he should use "Daddy's Money" if he wants land, a slew of articles like the one currently up on msn.com entitled "Anthony Precourt is a Monorail Salesman Masquerading as a Pro Sports Owner" and the decisions by local authorities to block him from both of the stadium sites he wanted, yesterday he got some even worse news:

    The Attorney General of Ohio is suing him and the league (ie. his partners) for attempting to smuggle the team out of town in violation of state law.

    It's gotten so bad that Precourt now says he's seriously considering moving the Columbus Crew to a 22 acre toxic waste site 11 miles from downtown Austin, a site which his chief stooge, Dave Greeley, was unable to locate even though some locals helpfully told him it was in the warehouse district behind the tire store right next to a couple Mexican food trucks and no, I am not making that up.

    (Fratboy McTrustfund calls this site "a viable option" that he gets "excited about", although he admits that "some remediation" of deadly chemical waste residue will be necessary. I'm sure his fellow owners can't wait for a tour.)

    Precourt's statement, which one journalist characterized as "reeking of desperation and delusion" (not to mention self-pity and grammar which would embarrass a tenth grader) was of course posted on one of the "oafish" astroturf sites PSV runs out of the Crew offices in Columbus.

    [​IMG]

    Outrageously, Precourt's love song to Austin, spelling out just how very, very hard he is working to move the team to Texas, was released last Tuesday night, just eight minutes into the Crew kickoff party held for season ticket holders.

    After not uttering one single solitary word in public in the almost five months since last October 18, the timing of the release was obviously deliberate and fully intended as a kick in the crotch to the thousands of fans who forked over substantial amounts of money out of love for a team they're fully aware that an arrogant, entitled owner wants to take away from them.

    What had already been a rather subdued, even somber gathering was transformed into an angry crowd scene, but I'm certain Fratboy McDaddysmoney was sitting at home chuckling over his clever "gotcha". The man is a disgrace.

    Somebody should ask Don Garber and each of the owners what they think of someone treating loyal MLS season ticket holders this way. It's appalling in its' viciousness and their continued silence in the face of this kind of abuse of their fans - Precourt operates the Crew but the rest of them, collectively, own it - only demonstrates their complicity; silence is consent.

    The statement itself is a ridiculous collection of the usual stadium-developer nonsense assuring everyone that "$400 million" worth of economic benefits will flow to the community thanks to his personal generosity. Ponies for everybody.

    He, or more likely his embarrassingly amateurish local PR agency, Elizabeth Christian PR, has decided that asking for free land to build a private stadium has a bad connotation, so he instead refers repeatedly to wanting Austin parkland so that he can build a "soccer park and grounds" for the benefit of the citizenry ("soccer wellness" also seems to be a thing) and is clearly hurt that they're not more appreciative. He stops just short of calling them ingrates.

    The statement itself, which the Austin Statesman American hilariously characterized as "a serious blow" to Columbus (the jokes write themselves, folks) was quickly followed in the next 12 hours by a pair of interviews from the suddenly chatty Precourt in which he again explained how very, very hard he's trying to bring professional soccer to the people of Austin.

    Saddest of all, he lists the small army of people being paid good money to promote his quest for gifts of parkland including a bank, a law firm, two PR firms, a sports architecture company, a project management firm and "local political advisors and consultants" of which, at last count, there are seven.

    (We might contrast this with the fact that PSV hasn't spent a cent on marketing in Columbus since early 2017)

    Another question for TheSoccerDon, should some reporter happen to grow a pair, is whether MLS is paying for all of these people hard at work down in Austin. We know for a fact that the law firm, the lobbyists and the lead promoter, Richard Suttle, are all on the MLS payroll, since they are legally required to declare who is paying them. Are the rest of this bunch being paid out of SUM - excuse me, I mean MLS - funds as well?

    Frankly, given Precourt's well-known reluctance to spend his own money, one strongly suspects so.

    The net result of all these highly paid experts feverishly promoting Anthony Precourt has been that the people of Austin are beginning to cordially hate his guts. Not quite to the levels of Columbus, Ohio residents or MLS fans in general, but give them time. They'll surely get there.

    [​IMG]

    The most delusional part of his self-obsessed screed is the full two paragraphs he devotes to explaining to the locals how stupid and ungrateful they were for blocking his effort to confiscate the downtown park known as Butler Shores. He lists all the hard work and expense he went to as if he expects City Council, who were responding to a public outcry when they told him no, to smack themselves in the head and exclaim "What were we thinking?".

    Still, it appears that his cheesy attempt at a counteroffensive against all the bad stuff people are saying and in an effort to get back the initiative, did have one apparent effect:

    It may have helped convince Ohios' Attorney General, Mike DeWine, that it was time to file suit under what is known as the "Modell Law" which essentially forces a professional team owner who wants to relocate to another state to first offer said team for sale to local interests.

    Suffice it to say for the time being that there are a lot of questions yet to be litigated as to the full extent of the applicability and usage of Modell in this case. I'm not a lawyer and I can't say anything much for certain.

    What we can however say with a great degree of confidence is that regardless of anything else, a state AG, armed with a very specific law and the almost limitless resources of his office (an office, we might note, located in downtown Columbus Ohio) can make you spend a lot of years and a lot of money proving your point.

    And as a declared candidate for governor of Ohio - and a with son sitting on the Ohio Supreme Court who is not required to recuse himself in cases such as this - betting against DeWine might be a bad idea.

    The bottom line for now is that while Modell may not be a slam dunk winner, MLS will have serious reluctance to swallow the legal bills, the time and the continuing PR disaster they suddenly find themselves in, all so that some entitled rich kid pet of Don Garbers' can have a shiny toy.

    Meanwhile, in Columbus, Precourt's bluff has been called, his lies have been exposed and his presence is no longer even possible.

    After all of his and Garber's mewling lies about the market, the group called the Columbus Partners have stepped up big time:

    Last December they offered to buy the team outright for $150 million. Precourt originally claimed that there was no offer, then said that the offer was absurdly low and then, just a few weeks ago, said that he didn't sell it because he wants to "give it to my kids someday".

    So then he was offered $75 million for 50% of the team, but he turned that down as well because he wanted to "keep full control".

    Then, just last week, one single local individual offered to buy 49.5% of the team, based on a $160 million valuation, with the stipulation that the team remain in Columbus. He was turned down flat.

    He's also been offered his choice of at least three prime downtown stadium sites complete with a commitment for extensive nearby amenity upgrades like restaurants, bars, etc., an immediate $2 million cash infusion and a huge package of local long term sponsorships. Precourt isn't interested.

    Meanwhile, down in Austin nobody will give the guy the time of day.

    In fact, despite the blatant lies that he and Garber kept repeating last fall, Precourt never even mentioned a new stadium in Columbus until last September. As one local CEO put it a few weeks ago, "If the guy wanted a new stadium, why didn't he say so?".

    The biggest question now is how long will Don Garber and the owners continue to let this arrogant, clueless incompetent drag down the league's reputation before they decide to cut bait and make a deal with the guys in Columbus who stand ready with plenty of cash, prime downtown stadium sites and, of all things in this sad, ugly saga, credibility.

    In addition to more or less forcing Ohio's AG to sue the league because of the six month notice provision in the Modell Law, which Precourt stupidly came way too close to triggering with his love poem to Austin, Fratboy did accomplish one other thing with his fan-insulting trickeration last week:

    He burned his last bridge in Columbus. There was the feeling in some circles at least that it was still possible to have Precourt come back to Columbus, build him a nice new place and let bygones be bygones.

    None of that sentiment remains. It's all used up. Gone.

    A little fairness, a little even handedness, just a smidgen of class or decency or any recognizable human emotion would have made something like that possible. Maybe an actual grownup, a real, live commissioner instead of a CEO grubbing for new markets to abuse, could have made a difference too.

    As it is, MLS has managed to take an original founding team and allowed it to be stuck in limbo; Columbus will go to great lengths, spend whatever it takes to keep the Crew where everyone knows it belongs, but neither they nor Austin want anything to do with the pariah of an owner who Don Garber manipulated into this position.

    The next move has to be up to the other owners to save a hard-won league reputation that is quickly circling the drain.

    And paradoxically, maybe AG DeWine, by suing the league, is doing the owners the biggest favor possible: if it's ruled that Precourt must sell the Crew locally, to a group fully prepared to build a first class downtown stadium surrounded by all the amenities anyone could ask for and packed with a newly energized fan base, who would argue that this is not a resolution where everybody wins?
     
    esc0, dadman, Robbo Crewfan and 56 others repped this.

Comments

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Bill Archer, Mar 6, 2018.

    1. TOAzer

      TOAzer Member

      May 29, 2016
      Club:
      New England Revolution

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      Garber's loyalty to this piece of offal is very very hard to understand....or maybe it's only hard to understand if I refuse to let go of the childish notion that Garber is genuinely a decent human being.
       
    2. Ch(Elsey)

      Ch(Elsey) Member+

      Columbus Crew
      United States
      May 2, 2003
      Green, Ohio
      Club:
      Columbus Crew
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      The ol' Precourt shuffle.
       
    3. GnarlyGned

      GnarlyGned New Member

      Crew
      Germany
      Mar 6, 2018

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      The other thing unmentioned in this excellent article is that there is no groundswell of support here in the ATX for MLS or any other professional soccer, really. They've let two incarnations of the minor-league Aztex disappear for lack of support already, and nobody is beating down City Hall's door, other than the deluded fools in the sports department of the local daily who are desperate to have something, anything other than UTexas sports to cover.

      The fact that Precourt is so transparent and disgusting makes matters even worse.
       
      TheJoeGreene, russ and CybrSlydr repped this.
    4. Dan Loney

      Dan Loney BigSoccer Supporter

      Mar 10, 2000
      Cincilluminati
      Club:
      Los Angeles Sol
      Nat'l Team:
      Philippines

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      If these dumb SOBs would just buy their own damn land and build their own damn playpens....
       
    5. tigersoccer2005

      tigersoccer2005 Member+

      Dec 1, 2003
      North Bergen, NJ
      Club:
      New York Red Bulls
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      My mind turns back to the time when MLS finally decided that they had had enough of the public relations disaster and legal problems that Chivas USA was getting itself entangled in and decided to buy out ownership and retain control of the team (which was later folded). Is anyone honestly to believe that MLS is sticking through thick and thin with Precourt and willing to let the league sink on his account? At what point do Precourt's actions pass that threshold where league ownership says--"enough" and they force him out of MLS by buying him out?
       
      Atomic Fury, VioletCrown and Dan Loney repped this.
    6. song219

      song219 BigSoccer Supporter

      Apr 5, 2004
      La Norte
      Club:
      DC United
      Nat'l Team:
      Vanuatu

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      It's easier in this case because Precourt has willing buyers according to multiple sources.
       
      tigersoccer2005 repped this.
    7. tigersoccer2005

      tigersoccer2005 Member+

      Dec 1, 2003
      North Bergen, NJ
      Club:
      New York Red Bulls
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      Correct--so Columbus Crew if it were to be bought out by the league would not be the white elephant that Chivas USA turned out to be where the league was unable to sell off the team to someone else. The league could buy out Precourt and still turn a quick profit by turning around and selling it off to the interested Columbus ownership group or anybody else that might be interested. I have to assume that the Crew as a founding MLS franchise would attract a certain amount of interest.

      The one question to ponder here is at what point do MLS owners realize that the visions of a brand new stadium and team in Austin are nothing but a pipe dream that they were fed by Precourt etc.? The community and government don't want them there!! MLS can be quite patient when they want to be--take for example how much time they gave Becks (years!) before officially announcing the team in Miami. So how long before the bubble bursts?
       
    8. SilentAssassin

      Apr 16, 2007
      St. Louis

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      ...only a handful of teams would be profitable and billionaires wouldn’t be lining up for expansion teams. The league might not even exist anymore. The SSS turned the league around and how many of those would have been built without public help? (Not a rhetorical question)
       
    9. kenntomasch

      kenntomasch Member+

      Sep 2, 1999
      Out West
      Club:
      FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      God, stop with the "the rest of them collectively own it" canard. They don't. That's a complete misunderstanding of single entity which was debunked years ago.

      They all own stock in MLS, LLC. Neither Robert Kraft nor Clark Hunt nor Phil Anschutz "own" any part of the Columbus Crew. It doesn't work that way. MLS has - subject to the franchise agreements that none of us have seen, to my knowledge - disposition to award franchises. But if they all owned Chivas USA, buying out Vergara for $70M would have put the value of that franchise somewhere above $140M. Which ain't the case.

      MLS I/Os purchase stock in MLS, LLC and SUM and get the rights to operate a franchise in their market. They wholly own whatever company is set up to run their teams and enter into sponsorship agreements, buy athletic tape and hire employees.

      "The collective" does not "own" any franchise. That went out in 2002 when Hunt took over the Burn, AEG and SVS&E took over San Jose and no one took over Tampa Bay.

      Every league has rights to award franchises and enforce its rules subject to its franchise agreements. The idea that MLS teams are collectively owned is an anachronism dating back to the launch of the league. It is no longer the case.

      And I told you this frigging years ago.
       
    10. tigersoccer2005

      tigersoccer2005 Member+

      Dec 1, 2003
      North Bergen, NJ
      Club:
      New York Red Bulls
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      Did anyone say they each owned a part of the club? I certainly didn't. What I said was the Board of Governors agreed that MLS LLC would buy out Vergara and then they subsequently tried to sell the team to someone else and it didn't work out. I did not say anything about whether or not each owner owned stock in Chivas USA once MLS bought out Vergara.

      Neither did I say or mean to imply that each of the current MLS owners owns part of the Columbus Crew and therefore can force the owner to sell. What I said was that MLS has a right to worry about damage to its public image and any legal liability an owner's actions may bring to the league as a whole. In that case one of the solutions to the problem is that the Board of Governors may exercise an option to buy out an existing owner.

      Something triggered you--you may have read more into my post than I intended to convey. If my previous posting ticked you off I sincerely apologize as it was not my intention.
       
      USRufnex and C-bus repped this.
    11. Jaybir

      Jaybir Member

      Feb 24, 2014
      Club:
      Columbus Crew

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      BRAVO!!!!!!!! BRAVO!!!!!!!!

      Well done. Thanks!
       
    12. TrueCrew

      TrueCrew Member+

      Dec 22, 2003
      Columbus, OH
      Club:
      Columbus Crew
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      Great post Bill.

      I wouldn't expect any help from MLS owners like Blank, Kraft, or even the Hunts.

      These folks are mostly offal. Not total offal like Garber, Precourt, and USSF leadership. But at least half.
       
    13. Dan Loney

      Dan Loney BigSoccer Supporter

      Mar 10, 2000
      Cincilluminati
      Club:
      Los Angeles Sol
      Nat'l Team:
      Philippines

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      I've been making the assumption that the collective, so motivated, might prevent a move (and risk an Al Davis-type lawsuit, of course, especially since by that time Precourt would have won in, er, court). The Chivas example exists of a team with an owner that is simply causing too many damn headaches to tolerate any further (cf., Donald Sterling, although Precourt hasn't been found doing anything THAT egregious).

      In fact, I've long held the notion that Nelson Rodriguez exists for this sort of thing - stepping in when current owners have proven unable to differentiate between asses and elbows. I hope he's trained an apprentice, if so.
       
      The Franchise repped this.
    14. Ch(Elsey)

      Ch(Elsey) Member+

      Columbus Crew
      United States
      May 2, 2003
      Green, Ohio
      Club:
      Columbus Crew
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      So I finished my second reading.

      What a great visual.

      Great question.

      This route still may be the best bet to get Precourt out of Columbus and Crew for good.

      They are in the category of “heroes” if this story ends up being a happy one.

      I have read this line about five times, and it remains a head-scratcher.

      Another great spotlight on where a spotlight is due: Crew fans have shown to be much greater in number, resourceful, and loyal than Alexi Lalas so classlessly neglected to give Columbus supporters credit for. “Small group of hardcore fans” or how else he phrased his televised slight.

      This final question is what I called "Archer's crowning jewel." Goosebumps.
       
    15. C-bus

      C-bus Member

      Aug 2, 2006
      Whittier, CA
      Club:
      Columbus Crew
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      I also think of the Chivas debacle when I think about this embarrassment to the league but as a less optimistic comparison. Remember, the league let that garbage exist for 10 years and go through 2 periods of severe discrimination before anything was done.
       
    16. DAFCrew

      DAFCrew Member+

      Feb 27, 2007
      Terre Haute, Indiana
      Club:
      Columbus Crew

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      Yeah, but didn't it mostly take that long because, even though Chivas was just a terribly-bad idea, it was Garber's idea?

      So even though screwing over the original MLS franchise and a dedicated fan base in order to play in front of smaller crowds in a toxic dump site nowhere near downtown may seem like it's really bad for the league, all the other owners, American soccer fans, and American soccer in general . . . Well, it's probably the Don's brainchild, so he and Trust Fund will do their damndest, no doubt.
       
    17. winster

      winster Member

      Jul 7, 2008
      Club:
      Besiktas JK
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      Aren't food trucks a sign of cool hipster-ness these days? In which case, maybe the toxic waste dump is actually a cool up-and-coming arts district?

      Regardless, I can hardly see a low-density industrial area needing "a couple" Mexican food trucks. I mean the workers need to eat, so one Mexican food truck would hardly be surprising, but a couple?
       
    18. POdinCowtown

      POdinCowtown Moderator
      Staff Member

      Jan 15, 2002
      Columbus

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      DeWine says he'll be asking for an injunction against the move soon. Things should speed up from here.
       
    19. USRufnex

      USRufnex Member+

      Tulsa Athletic / Sheffield United
      United States
      Jul 15, 2000
      Tulsa, OK
      Club:
      --other--

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      "Maybe an actual grownup, a real, live commissioner instead of a CEO grubbing for new markets to abuse, could have made a difference too."

      Garber's too busy kissing Arthur Blank's ring and pursuing an NFL market relocation business model to notice his own crass hypocrisy.
       
    20. Initial B

      Initial B Member

      Jan 29, 2014
      Club:
      Ottawa Fury

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      The silence from MLS front office over this whole mess really makes me wonder - is Precourt just a front to shield MLS from the backlash and take the heat over the relocation of Columbus? Is Garber the one really pulling the strings? It all seems to come back to him.

      For some reason I can't help but think that MLS wants another team in Texas, preferably Austin over San Antonio. I think they also want a team in Cincinnati and Detroit, but with Columbus still there that would lead to a regional over-concentration of teams.
       
    21. USRufnex

      USRufnex Member+

      Tulsa Athletic / Sheffield United
      United States
      Jul 15, 2000
      Tulsa, OK
      Club:
      --other--

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      That's exactly what I think is going on.
       
      Atomic Fury repped this.
    22. Atomic Fury

      Atomic Fury BigSoccer Supporter

      Apr 30, 2007
      Pennsylvania
      Club:
      Manchester United FC
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      What's Precourt trying to do, become Dan Borislow 2.0?

      Although you acknowledged the weak but still significant negotiating option of the Modell Rule, I still think Precourt is impish enough to try and move the club to somewhere other than Austin. It just wouldn't surprise me if he pulled such a stunt. There's certainly reason for optimism among the Crew faithful and hope it all turns out in their favor, but there's plenty to be concerned about given the personality defects of Precourt.

      Hoping for the best in Columbus!
       
    23. Initial B

      Initial B Member

      Jan 29, 2014
      Club:
      Ottawa Fury

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      What if Precourt moves from Columbus to Cincinnati and joins the FCC bid? That's still in Ohio so would the Modell Rule still apply?
       
    24. POdinCowtown

      POdinCowtown Moderator
      Staff Member

      Jan 15, 2002
      Columbus

      Precourt Hits the Panic Button, Panic Button Hits Him Back

      By Bill Archer on Mar 6, 2018 at 11:18 AM
      Yes. He also would be unlikely to get agreement from Columbus city council for a move to Cincinnati, as opposed to a move to a downtown Columbus location.
       

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