“It’s about Columbus. It’s about pride in our community.”
In his opening remarks, Investor-Operator Dr. Pete Edwards – alongside 4,295 other members of the Columbus Crew SC family – put that pride on display on Thursday, Oct. 10 as the Club officially broke ground on the new Downtown Stadium in the Arena District.
"History", "roots", "community", "future" -- all key talking points throughout a ceremony that featured not only Edwards and fellow Investor-Operators Dee Haslam and JW Johnson, but Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, City of Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin, Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown, and Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted.
Emceed by former Crew player and current NBC Sports soccer analyst Kyle Martino, the ceremony kicked off with initial comments from Martino, who spoke on the impact Columbus has provided in his life.
Following Martino, Mayor Ginther stepped up to the podium to discuss the impact the stadium will have on the city.
“The Haslam and Edwards families are investing 300 million dollars to make sure that they build a world-class stadium for a world-class city and for world-class fans. The city’s fifty-million-dollar investment towards the Crew, along with additional funds for infrastructure, for this incredible new job center here in the Arena District,” Ginther said. “I didn’t major in math, but the last time I checked,113 million dollars in infrastructure for a new job center leveraging 1.04 billion dollars in private investment is a pretty good return for the taxpayers of central Ohio.”
Council President Hardin and Commissioner Brown touched on the city of Columbus’ can-do attitude, and the community’s role in where the team now stands with the construction of a one-of-a-kind stadium now officially underway.
“We’re going to do the groundbreaking for something very special in this community and we all know that Columbus knows how to do things great and we all know that when it comes to our sports, we know how to do the great things even better. This is what Columbus does, we come together for the greater good,” Brown said.
⚡️ Historic. Momentous. Columbus.https://t.co/vCEK8sOJtt— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) October 11, 2019
Following comments from Lt. Governor Husted and JW Johnson, Commissioner Garber addressed the important figures in getting to this point, and why Columbus now has the opportunity to assert itself as a beacon in North American soccer.
“This is a team that has no ability to stop and to be one of the top teams in the League and ultimately one of the top leagues in the world, and in order to get there, we needed a soccer stadium – as you all know, that would be one of the top stadiums in our country and potentially one of the top stadiums in the world,” Garber said. “And it wasn’t just enough to do another MLS stadium. The family sat down and said we want to have a stadium that will be a beacon to show what this city of Columbus can be, what it will be and how the Columbus Crew can lead this sport in our country. Today’s groundbreaking is one of the great days in the history of our League.”
Following Garber was Dr. Edwards, while Haslam delivered the closing remarks before the ceremonial groundbreaking.
"We know how important the sport is to this community and we are so grateful to all of the people here today that have been thanked," Haslam said. "To Alex Fischer and to the entire community and most importantly, to all of you – the supporters. Thank you so much for your efforts. We’re here to celebrate. It has been a long hard road to get here today but this is really about our future, and so we have worked really hard on thinking about this stadium, to build a unique, iconic, dynamic, vibrant stadium that reflects what Columbus is all about and also reflects our fans."
With construction underway, secure your spot at what is to be an iconic North America soccer stadium by visiting www.CrewStadium.com, where you can also view the live construction cam, as well as enter to win an official full-size shovel from Thursday's ceremony.