Fairbanks High School athletic trainer Keith Tebbe talks to injured Lady Panther soccer player Coree Gifford on the sidelines Tuesday afternoon. Tebbe was a season-ticket holder for the Columbus Crew, which announced earlier in the day they anticipate moving to Austin, Texas.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
It’s been a pretty rough week for Fairbanks High School athletic trainer Keith Tebbe.
After missing last Friday’s Panther football game, he returned to duty for the school’s girls soccer contest Tuesday afternoon, coming off a bout of pneumonia.
“Physically, I’m getting there,” said Tebbe, right before the start of the game.
It’s something entirely different that has left him not feeling so good.
As a matter of fact, it’s got his temperature rising.
“I’m livid,” said Tebbe after learning that his favorite professional soccer team, the Columbus Crew, could very well be leaving for what it perceives as greener pastures in Austin, Texas.
Anthony Precourt, whose Precourt Sports Ventures has owned the franchise for the past four years, announced on Tuesday that the team is “no longer sustainable” and that he will move the team to Austin unless a new, privately-financed stadium is constructed in downtown Columbus.
Precourt said the team needs more fan and financial support to compete in a growing league and that a new stadium is needed.
“This came out of nowhere, despite some back-room chatter,” said Tebbe.
The 2018 campaign was to have been Tebbe’s third as a Crew season ticket-holder.
Like he has done the past couple of years, Tebbe set up a payment plan for 2018 tickets and still had four more payments to make.
“I read a lot about this possibility last night on the Internet,” he said. “Then, the news came out in the press today.
“I’m shocked,” he said. “There was always this joke about the team relocating because they were abysmal on the field and attendance was down.
“I was hoping they wouldn’t leave, but I don’t think the ownership really tried to promote the team in order to get people to go to the games.”
Tebbe, who attended four home games during the 2017 season, said the franchise’s presale tickets for the 2018 campaign ended Monday.
“Then, they dropped the news today,” he said.
Like a bomb?
“Something like that,” said Tebbe. “Just the way they went about things seems a little shady to me.
“I think the Austin civic leaders really pushed for this.”
With the team’s possible departure to the Lone Star State, Tebbe and other season-ticket holders will be able to get a refund, right?
Not so fast, my friend.
“I inquired earlier today about that, but the ticket office told me that all sales are final and the money is not refundable,” he said.
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