In just over 90 days remain until opening of the new Crew Stadium in Columbus. Although it will hold only 20,000 people, the price tag is quite high, something we’re used to seeing in the US.
Today marks the 539th day of construction in Columbus. In more simple terms, 1 year and 5 months behind, just 3 months to go. We can officially count down the days because opening of the stadium is set for July 3, with the Crew – New England Revolution fixture. The date means that first 4 matches of the 2021 MLS season will be played at the old stadium and following 13 at the new one.
One interesting and somewhat peculiar thing is interim naming. Because in 2020 the old ground lost its naming rights partner and the new one is yet to get one, they’re both basically known as Crew Stadium. To distinguish between them, the old one was renamed the Historic Crew Stadium, at least for now...
The new stadium will hold some 20,000 people, of whom 3,400 will occupy the Nordecke – new grandstand for the most vocal supporters, which we praised last year. It remains unclear as to how many of these places will be available during opening but it’s quite clear the event will take place with an audience.
Already today restrictions in Ohio permit up to 30% of capacity during open-air events, although Crew are planning to invite only some 18% (or 3,600) for the first games of the 2021 MLS seasons, at the old stadium. It’s hoped that by the summer rules will be looser.
Opening on July 3 means that construction is going exactly as planned, possibly even faster in some areas. Structurally the stadium is almost complete by now, being furnished and equipped as we speak. The list of food vendors is complete, with 10 local restaurants/chains to make their products available during games.
While timing is good, the budget was exceeded. When the first vision for a new downtown Columbus stadium was revealed in 2018, it was estimated to cost some $230 million. By the time the final vision was approved, the price tag grew to $300 million. Now, after additional features approved late last year, the price remains at $313.9 million (€267m). But, with the stadium being financed entirely with private funds, the large budget isn’t considered a major issue.