One of the key players in the development of Major League Soccer, Hunt Sports Group, has scaled back its involvement in the League by selling the Colombus Crew franchise to Precourt Sports Ventures (PSV).
Hunt Sports Group has operated the Crew – an MLS founding member – since its formation in 1996. The group also previously owned Sporting Kansas City back when it was known as the Kansas City Wizards and will now retain one MLS franchise in the shape of FC Dallas. The Crew’s new chairman, Anthony Precourt, has been the managing partner at Precourt Capital Management (PCM) since 2008. PCM’s principal lines of business are investment management services and private equity investing in the energy sector. In 2012, Precourt formed PSV as part of a diversification strategy into sports-entertainment; specifically soccer.
Precourt said: “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.”
The Crew 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. MLS commissioner Don Garber welcomed the Crew’s new owner and paid tribute to the Hunt family’s role in the club’s development. He said: “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. 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.”