Precourt Sports Ventures acquires Columbus Crew

MLS Charter Member purchased from Hunt Sports Group

Anthony Precourt

Photo Credit: 
Greg Bartram - USA Today Sports Images

COLUMBUS – The Columbus Crew and Hunt Sports Group announced today that Precourt Sports Ventures, LLC has acquired the operating rights to the Crew. Hunt Sports Group has operated the Crew – Major League Soccer’s Charter Member – since 1996. Effective immediately, the Black & Gold become part of the privately held investment and management firm’s sports and entertainment business enterprise.

“Precourt Sports Ventures, LLC (PSV) is honored to become the new Investor-Operator of the Columbus Crew and thrilled to become a partner in Major League Soccer,” said Anthony Precourt, Managing Partner of PSV and the new Chairman of the Crew. “We have long believed in the ascension of soccer in the American sports-entertainment world, so stepping into a Charter Member of the League is an incredible moment. 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.

“We also appreciate the support we received from the League Office in bringing this together,” continued Precourt. “Most importantly, we want to recognize the Crew’s supporters and players, and let them know we aim to be successful, we plan to win, and we will be actively engaged members of the Columbus community. We look forward to earning your support every day, because without you none of this would be possible.”

Since 2008, Precourt has been the Managing Partner at Precourt Capital Management (PCM). PCM’s principal lines of business are investment management services and private equity investing in the energy sector. In 2012, Precourt formed Precourt Sports Ventures, LLC (PSV) as part of a diversification strategy into sports-entertainment; specifically soccer. Precourt’s career started in investment banking, where he focused on corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions with both Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank Alex Brown. Later, he moved to WHV Investment Management, a $12 billion dollar public equity investment management company, where he served on the firm’s senior management team. A native of Denver, Precourt and his family live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Clark Hunt, Chairman of Hunt Sports Group, said Precourt will be a strong addition to MLS.


“Today is a very exciting day for the Crew, the Crew supporters, the City of Columbus and Major League Soccer,” Hunt said. “Anthony is a bright, passionate, driven leader, and we believe he will be a great fit for Columbus. We are delighted to welcome him as a partner in MLS, and I am confident that he will do an outstanding job with the Crew.

“Although we are very pleased to welcome Anthony to MLS, today is somewhat bittersweet for our family because of how much we love the Crew. On behalf of my entire family, I want to thank the city of Columbus, the state of Ohio, the Crew players, coaches and staff, and most importantly, the Crew supporters for cultivating one of the most iconic clubs in MLS and allowing us to be a part of it.”


Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber echoed Hunt’s sentiment, “It is with great pleasure that I welcome Precourt Sports Ventures as a new MLS owner,” said Commissioner Garber. “During the last several months, I have had the opportunity to get to know Anthony Precourt. I have been very impressed with his approach to business, his passion for the game and his commitment to joining our other owners in continuing to build the league and sport in North America.” 
 


“I also thank the Hunt family for their commitment to the Crew since MLS launched in 1996,” Garber added.  “As with many other innovations, Lamar Hunt's decision to build Crew Stadium -- the first soccer-specific stadium in the US -- was a major turning point in the history of our sport. His children -- Sharon, Lamar Jr., Clark and Dan -- have continued their father's leadership both in Columbus and in Dallas where the family will continue their ownership of FC Dallas.”

Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman also welcomed Precourt and his family to the city of Columbus.

“The Columbus Crew is a vital part of the fabric and the future of the city of Columbus,” Coleman said.  “I’m confident Anthony Precourt will not only honor the history and values of Crew Founder Lamar Hunt as the new Chairman of the Crew, but that he will also bring the passion, innovation and business acumen necessary to continue Hunt’s pioneering vision for both the Crew and MLS. I look forward to working closely with Anthony and the Crew to help achieve their stated club priorities, particularly realizing Goal 10k and securing stadium naming rights.
 


“I’d also like to thank the Hunt family, especially Clark Hunt and Lamar Hunt, Jr., for their commitment to the Columbus Crew and the city of Columbus for the past 17 years. The Hunt family holds a special place in the annals of Columbus history and their dedication to the Crew and Columbus have clearly played a role in our City’s success. On behalf of all the citizens of Columbus, I am grateful for their unwavering allegiance.”      

Hunt Sports Group will continue its active role in Major League Soccer as investor-operator of FC Dallas, Hunt said. Hunt Sports Group was advised by Inner Circle Sports in this transaction.

ABOUT THE COLUMBUS CREW
The Columbus Crew is Ohio's Major League Soccer club. Owned and operated by Precourt Sports Ventures, LLC (PSV), and one of the League's Charter Members, it won its first MLS Cup championship in 2008, and has also won the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and MLS Supporters’ Shield titles in 2004, 2008 and 2009. 2013 is the Crew’s 15th season at first-of-its-kind Crew Stadium, the first topflight soccer-specific facility built in the United States. Founded by the American sports pioneer Lamar Hunt, the club was purchased by Precourt Sports Ventues, LLC (PSV) on July 29, 2013 as part of the privately-held investment and management firm’s sports and entertainment business enterprise.


ABOUT PRECOURT SPORTS VENTURES, LLC
Precourt Sports Ventures, LLC (PSV) is a privately held investment and management firm focused on the sports-entertainment business, with a particular interest in the growing sport of soccer. As the Managing Partner, Anthony Precourt formed PSV in 2012. PSV currently owns and operates the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer and manages its home pitch, Crew Stadium.