Will Voters Give Soccer the Boot?
IndyAustin kicks off anti-stadium petition drive
The group that put the anti-CodeNEXT Proposition J on the November ballot has a new target: the unsigned deal between Precourt Sports Ventures and the city to bring the Columbus Crew SC to Austin, where the team would become the Austin FC. The political action committee IndyAustin has officially kicked off its petition drive to give voters a say on the deal approved by Council in August, along with any future "sale, lease, conveyance, mortgage, or alienation of city-owned land" for the use of a sports or entertainment stadium. Lest there be doubt on the group's position, you'll find the petition at indyaustin.org headlined "Boot [Mayor Steve] Adler and his Sucker Stadium."
IndyAustin cites "$250 million in taxpayer subsidies and property tax waivers" that it feels would be better spent elsewhere as its primary motivation. Soccer boosters have countered by pointing to community benefits included in the deal. If IndyAustin can collect 20,000 signatures from Austin voters, the issue could be on a May 2019 ballot.
The threat of a citizen-led effort to blow up the PSV deal did not stop dedicated fans of Austin's not-yet-real first major league sports team from celebrating their rebranding as the Austin Anthem. Founded in 2013, the former MLS in Austin, having almost achieved its goal of landing a franchise, has pivoted into Austin FC's official supporters' group. The group unveiled their new name and logo (it features a grackle) on Saturday at Jack & Ginger's, about two miles from the future stadium site at McKalla Place; its first official meeting will be Nov. 4.