Lower.com Field: A timeline of the Columbus Crew’s new stadium from conception to opening

Jacob Myers
The Columbus Dispatch

On Oct. 12, 2018, Major League Soccer announced it had entered into negotiations with Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam to keep the Crew, the league’s first franchise, in Columbus. Until the Haslam family and the family of former team doctor Pete Edwards were officially announced as the Crew's new owners in late December, they had to get approval from MLS on plans for a new downtown stadium. 

With financial commitments from the city, Franklin County and state of Ohio for the construction of the stadium and surrounding areas in what’s now called Astor Park, the Crew finalized a $25.7 million deal for land just west of Huntington Park just before it broke ground in October 2019 on a new downtown stadium. 

Now, nearly 21 months later, the Crew is set to open a $313.9 million, 20,000-seat stadium on July 3 as the reigning champions in MLS. The club believes Lower.com Field will be a new Midwestern sports icon, a beacon for a growing city and offer an unrivaled in-game experience for Crew fans. 

From before the Save the Crew movement to the opening of Lower.com Field, here’s a look at the biggest moments that have led to the inaugural match. 


Oct. 17: The Crew sends out a survey to fans to gauge what they might want in a new downtown stadium. This was the first sign past ownerAnthony Precourt was eyeing a new stadium in Columbus. Where that stadium would be was a mystery. 


Oct. 16: The first report of Anthony Precourt's desire to move the Crew to Austin for the 2019 season circulates. The report states the Crew would be moved if Precourt could not secure a downtown stadium. 

Oct. 17: Precourt denies a move to Austin for the Crew was imminent, rather he was "exploring strategic options." It was later discovered that when Precourt bought the club in 2013 from the Hunt family, Precourt had a clause that stated he could move the club to Austin if he deemed Columbus as an unviable market. 

Justin Fryer, of Columbus, sits at the bar on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at Hendoc's Pub in Columbus, Ohio. Anthony Precourt, owner of Crew SC, has speculated that he will move the team to Austin, Texas if a downtown stadium is not built for the team. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

Oct. 22: About 2,000 Crew fans congregate in front of City Hall to voice their support for the team and their disapproval of Precourt Sport Ventures’ proposed move. This was the start of the Save the Crew movement. 

Lead by leaders of the supporter groups, fans sing their support for the team at the Save The Crew rally at City Hall in Columbus, Ohio on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. [Emma Howells / Dispatch]


March 5: Then-Attorney General Mike DeWine and Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein file a lawsuit against Precourt and Major League Soccer to stop the move to Austin. 

Columbus Crew fans celebrate following the team's 4-1 win over New York City FC in the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal playoff game in Columbus on Oct. 31, 2017. [Adam Cairns/Dispatch]

Aug. 6: An order from Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey M. Brown ensures the lawsuit will extend at least into September. This gave Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer and others time to get an agreement in place for new ownership to purchase the Crew.

Sept. 21: The morning after the Browns ended their 18-game winless streak against the New York Jets, Dr. Pete Edwards and Fischer meet with the Haslams privately at their home. This is where the two agreed in principle to jointly purchase the Crew with the Haslams as majority owners. 

Columbus Crew SC owners Pete Edwards and Jimmy Haslam watch their team take on Los Angeles Galaxy during the 1st half of their match at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on May 8, 2019. [Kyle Robertson/Dispatch]

Oct. 12: Major League Soccer announces it is in negotiations with Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam and a local investor to purchase the Crew. Plans for a stadium have to be approved by MLS before finalizing the deal. 

Nov. 24: The Dispatch reports Crew coach Gregg Berhalter will be hired as the new coach of the U.S. men’s national team. 

Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter waves to fans following the MLS match against the Houston Dynamo at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus on Aug. 11, 2018. The Crew won 1-0. [Adam Cairns / Dispatch]

Dec. 6: Plans and renderings of a new $230 million downtown stadium west of Huntington Park are unveiled at an event at Land-Grant Brewing. Over the next two weeks, Columbus, the state of Ohio and Franklin County would invest more than $100 million for the stadium and surrounding areas. 

Final Crew Stadium Renderings Stadium renderings

Dec. 28: Columbus and the state of Ohio dismiss a lawsuit against Major League Soccer and Columbus Crew SC, and Dee and Jimmy Haslam and Dr. Pete Edwards officially purchase the Crew with plans for a new stadium in the Arena District. 


Jan. 4: The Crew announces Tim Bezbatchenko as the club’s new president and GM, and Caleb Porter as the new coach. 

Columbus Crew SC head coach Caleb Porter poses for a picture with members of Save The Crew following an introductory press conference on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at Two Miranova in Columbus, Ohio. New owner-operators Dee Haslam and Pete Edwards were formally introduced along with new Crew SC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko and new Crew SC manager Caleb Porter. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

June 6: Tim Bezbatchenko tells The Dispatch the new stadium won’t be ready until at least July 2021. 

Aug. 27: The Downtown Commission approves demolition of buildings on the west side of the stadium site to clear the path for groundbreaking, even though the Aug. 15 land agreement deadline had passed. 

Sept. 17: The Crew announces it will break ground on its new stadium Oct. 10. At that point, the club still had not officially announced it had acquired the land from Nationwide Realty Investors. 

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Columbus Crew downtown stadium was held Thursday, October 10, 2019.   (Columbus Dispatch photo by Doral Chenoweth III)

Sept. 24: Updated renderings of new Crew Stadium are unveiled to the Downtown Commission. This was the first time the public saw renderings of the final design of the stadium. 

Pedestrian level view of new Crew Stadium looking Northwest. [Rendering provided by the Columbus Crew]

Oct. 10: Joined by Mayor Andrew Ginther, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Crew owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam and Dr. Pete Edwards break ground on a 21-acre lot just west of the Arena District as the official start of construction. The Crew also announces it has purchased the land for the stadium from NRI for $25.7 million and the Haslams have put another $70 million toward the new stadium for a total of $300 million. 

Columbus Crew SC investor-operator Dee Haslam waves a Crew SC flag after speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Crew Stadium on Thursday, October 10, 2019 at the Arena District in Columbus, Ohio. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]


Feb. 13: The Dispatch reveals the land deal between NRI and Haslam Sports Group was contingent on the city restructuring a loan on Nationwide Arena that would benefit NRI. 

Feb. 25: The Crew announces OhioHealth as the official sponsor of its new training facility and unveils renderings of the OhioHealth Performance Center. 

Feb. 27: Nationwide becomes the club’s official jersey sponsor beginning in 2021. The 2020 sponsorship is donated to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. 

Columbus Crew SC president Tim Bezbatchenko, left, and chief business officer Steve Lyons hold up the newly-sponsored jerseys with the Nationwide and Nationwide Children's Hospital logos prior to the MLS match between the Columbus Crew SC and New York City at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus on Sunday, March 1, 2020. [Adam Cairns/Dispatch]

March 12: MLS suspends the season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Multiple health orders restrict business operations, but stadium construction is permitted and remains on track for a July opening. 

June 8: The Crew breaks ground on the OhioHealth Performance Center. 

Aug. 13: The Dispatch gets an exclusive first look at progress of the new stadium. The Crew says the Haslams have contributed another $13.9M to the stadium project for a total of $313.9 million. 

The final steel beam was placed in the construction of the new Crew Stadium near downtown Columbus on Thursday, January 8, 2021. The stadium is schedule to open in July 2021.

Dec. 12: The Crew wins MLS Cup at Mapfre Stadium against the Seattle Sounders for the club’s second-ever league championship. 


Jan. 7: The final steel beam is placed at new Crew Stadium. Construction crews had started installing seating in the lower bowl and the roof that covers all 20,000 seats. 

The final steel beam was placed in the construction process  during a topping out ceremony for the New Crew Stadium near downtown Columbus on Thursday, January 8, 2021.

March 2: The inaugural stadium kit is unveiled at the new stadium, showcasing the stadium’s new TIFO-rigging system, which will allow Crew supporters to hang displays of art for games up to 80 feet tall and 252 feet long.

March 24: The 2021 MLS schedule is released. The inaugural game at new Crew Stadium is set for July 3. 

June 8: The OhioHealth Performance Center officially opens as the Crew’s new training facility on the west side of Crew Stadium. The new 42,000-square foot facility replaces the club's previous training facility in Obetz.

The weight room inside the new Columbus Crew state-of-the-art training facility, the OhioHealth Performance Center in Columbus, Ohio on June 9, 2021.

June 15: The new stadium is renamed Lower.com Field after the Crew secured a “long-term partnership” with digital mortgage company based in New Albany. 

Lower.com CEO Dan Snyder poses for a photo following an event to formally name the new Columbus Crew stadium Lower.com Field on Tuesday.

June 19: The Crew plays its final game in Historic Crew Stadium, a 2-0 win over Chicago.

A message on the scoreboard thanks fans following the final Columbus Crew game at Historic Crew Stadium in Columbus on Saturday, June 19, 2021. The Crew defeated the Chicago Fire 2-0.

June 29: Lower.com Field is officially open for business at a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Crew.  

June 30: The Crew christens the new stadium with its first training session at Lower.com Field ahead of the first match on July 3.