After taking control of the Columbus Crew on Tuesday afternoon, new club Chairman Anthony Precourt chatted briefly with TheCrew.com's Cody Sharrett.
Cody Sharrett: Welcome to Columbus and congratulations on acquiring the Crew. First of all, why MLS and furthermore why the Columbus Crew?
Anthony Precourt: Major League Soccer has come a long way in a short period of time, 18 years. The Crew has been a part of MLS since the beginning being a Charter Member, one of the first 10 teams. The average tenure of a team in MLS is just about 10 years, given all the expansion we've seen. For me and the Crew, I just gravitated toward the heritage. The fact that there is a deeply rooted connection to soccer in Columbus, 18 years long, that's what really excited me.
In terms of Major League Soccer, there's a number of really exciting things going on from New York City FC with Manchester City FC and the New York Yankees backing the new team in New York -- that's exciting -- to a number of franchises have improved their facilities over the last few years and there are media rights coming up in the next couple of years. I think Major League Soccer is becoming more and more nationally relevant.
CS: Looking at what new owners have done in Kansas City and more recently, D.C., and even with expansion sides in Portland and Montreal, how can you learn from those efforts in directing the Crew?
AP: There's so much to learn from every franchise in Major League Soccer. We're going to be spending a lot of time benchmarking the Columbus Crew against other teams in MLS on all fronts. There are certainly a few teams we'd like to model ourselves after. The re-brand and rebirth of the Kansas City Wizards into Sporting Kansas City, they've obviously done a fantastic job. I'm very excited about what's going on in Portland. They deserve to host the All-Star Game next year. I think Merritt Paulson has done a fantastic job. Seattle -- there's a number of organizations I could point to. We'll be benchmarking the Columbus Crew on all metrics versus other teams in the League and other leagues in the world. Every day we'll try to make the Columbus Crew more relevant, more successful and cooler for everybody.
CS: You said you want to carry on Lamar Hunt's fan-first mentality here. I see you've already started following the Hudson Street Hooligans on Twitter. Diving into this new venture, how in-touch do you feel with the Crew's fanbase?
AP: I can't say I'm fully in-touch yet, but I can't wait to be. I'm going to do a Twitter chat later today from Kansas City at the All-Star Game and I look forward to hearing from people and answering their questions. I plan to be here next week in Columbus on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I think we're going to have an event at Fourth Street Bar where I can get to know some supporters and fans, have a beer and I'll be at the next home game against the New York Red Bulls.