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Columbus Crew saved?

Reports indicate buyers have emerged to keep the MLS original in Ohio

MLS: Eastern Conference Knockout Round-Columbus Crew at Atlanta United FC Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Nearly a year after Columbus Crew owner floated the possibility of moving the Columbus Crew to Austin, signs are pointing to the Major League Soccer original staying put with a new local ownership group.

Ian Thomas of the Sports Business Journal first reported on Friday that an ownership group including the family of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is acquiring the team and keeping them in Columbus. Grant Wahl also reported on Friday that the ownership group would include Columbus-based investors led by Pete Edwards Jr. and that plans include building a downtown stadium in the Ohio capital.

Our colleague Patrick Murphy at SB Nation site Massive Report has more details on all of the developments, including statements from MLS and the Columbus Partnership.

Mission Accomplished: Saved the Crew

One interesting twist from Murphy’s report:

“It has been reported that when this is all said and done, Crew SC will technically be considered an expansion team but will keep the name, players, history and will continue to play games in 2019. Haslam will pay the expansion fee and Precourt will be awarded the rights to a team in Austin.”

Philadelphia Union fans should celebrate this news because it means that the rivalry appears to be staying intact and that their soon-to-be former shady owner didn’t succeed in stripping Columbus of their team, even if MLS does appear to be rewarding him with a new team in Austin that will be plenty fun to hate.

Of course, since both teams are fighting for fourth place at the moment, it continues to be a #SavetheCrewSoWeCanStillBeatThem situation.