AUSTIN, Texas – Not surprisingly, Major League Soccer got a little bigger Tuesday as commissioner Don Garber welcomes Austin FC into the league.
Austin FC will begin play in 2021 as the 27th team.
Garber made the announcement along with club by Austin FC chairman and CEO Anthony Precourt, Austin mayor Steve Adler and hundreds of soccer fans at an event to officially launch the new team.
Texas will become the first state with three MLS clubs as Austin will join FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo.
Austin will soon be home to a new, state-of-the-art soccer stadium located at the city-owned property at McKalla Place in North Austin. The publicly owned $225 million project on 24 acres will feature a 20,000-seat, natural grass stadium and public park that will be entirely funded by Precourt Sports Ventures, the investor-operator of the club. Groundbreaking for the new stadium will take place later this year and officially open with the club’s first home game in the spring of 2021.
“Austin is a thriving metropolitan city – the embodiment of what we mean when we say MLS is a ‘League for a new America,’ ” Garber said. “We are extremely proud to be the first major professional sports league to become part of the fabric of this important and thriving American city. In their support of a world-class soccer stadium that benefits the entire community, the leadership of the City of Austin has shown tremendous faith in our league and the sport of soccer in North America. I want to thank Anthony Precourt for his continued commitment to our league and Mayor Adler and the political leadership of the City of Austin for their belief in Major League Soccer.”
Precourt tried to move Columbus Crew SC to Austin before a compromise was made. Crew SC will remain in Columbus with a new stadium in downstown of the state capital.
PSV was founded in 2012 by Precourt, who has been the managing partner at Precourt Capital Management since 2008. Prior to becoming investor-operator of Austin FC, PSV held the same responsibility for the last six years with Crew SC. Andy Loughnane, previously president of business operations of Crew SC, was named president of Austin FC Jan. 3.
“This is a very proud moment, and we are so happy to share it with the people of Austin, City leadership, the dedicated soccer fans of the region, and everyone who believed in our mission to bring Major League Soccer to this incredible community,” Precourt said. “The greatest way we can show our gratitude is in our actions as leaders of Austin FC. Our intent is to build a team that will be a perennial contender for MLS Cup, to build a stadium at McKalla Place that rivals the best sporting venues in North America, and to cultivate a club culture that brings people together and always give back.”
Austin is the 11th-largest U.S. city.
In addition to the sports teams of the University of Texas at Austin, the state capital region is also the home of several professional minor league franchises. Since 1987, Austin has been the site of the renowned SXSW, one of the world’s largest gatherings of creative and innovative minds in the arts, technology, media and sports.