Austin finalizes deal for new MLS stadium

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Officials in Austin, Texas, have finalized a partnership for a new 20,000-seat stadium for the eventual Major League Soccer club Austin FC.

The deal with PreCourt Sports Ventures will build a $225 million privately funded stadium on city land. It would be open spring 2021 when Austin FC is expected to start playing.

The stadium project was born out of Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt’s efforts to relocate the franchise to Austin. That plan drew fierce resistance from Crew fans as well as local and state officials in Ohio. The Crew is expected to stay in Columbus under a new ownership group led by Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam.

The Austin venue will be an open-air facility with a natural grass playing field built on land that has been vacant for 25 years.

Austin FC would be the first major league professional franchise in the Texas capital.