There were dueling statements of purpose this week from Austin's two putative soccer franchises, with USL Austin owner and COTA CEO Bobby Epstein telling the Columbus Dispatch that "there's a widespread feeling that the [Columbus] Crew may not be coming to Austin after all," so he'll move ahead with plans for a 2019 expansion team, and a soccer-specific venue at COTA, that have been in "a sort of wait-and-see mode" for the last few months. If that does come to pass, the new team will have a ready-made rivalry with San Antonio FC, who are just a couple of weeks out from their USL season opener. A day later, Anthony Precourt, chairman and CEO of Precourt Sports Ventures, which owns the Crew, issued a statement assuring the public that PSV "continues to work with the Austin community to secure an appropriate urban core site for a soccer-specific stadium that will serve as the home of Austin's first major league professional sports franchise." However, the statement concludes, "although we are willing to dedicate significant time and expense in this effort, we are not in a position to move to Austin if the right site is not identified."
The CONCACAF Champions League round of 16 concludes this week Thu., March 1, with a double-header on Univision Deportes: New York Red Bulls hosting Olimpia at 7pm, and Seattle Sounders trying to reverse a 2-1 loss at El Salvador's Santa Tecla at 9pm.
European Champions League round of 16 return legs begins this coming Tue.-Wed., March 6-7, with three English teams at home trying to advance into the quarterfinals. Tue.: Porto at Liverpool, Real Madrid at PSG; Wed: Juventus at Spurs, Basel at Manchester City, all at 1:45pm on Fox Sports 1 & 2, and in Spanish on ESPN Deportes & Fox Deportes.
Looking ahead, Fox Sports will have a major presence at SXSW next week, to kick off their 100-day countdown to the World Cup: The Fox Sports House at 318 Colorado will be open to the public, 11am-8pm daily, from Fri.-Mon., March 9-12, with different programming and events each day. See foxsportshouse.splashthat.com for full info and to RSVP. They'll also be featured at a number of SXSW sessions, along with debuting a new documentary film series, Phenoms.