sports 2 days ago

BrewDog CEO wants to be involved in buying Columbus Crew

The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio — JD Malone The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

Nov. 14--There might be some bite behind Save the Crew's bark.

James Watt, the co-founder and CEO of BrewDog, wants to help buy the Columbus Crew. As always with BrewDog, there's an interesting twist.

"We would love to facilitate and be involved in a potential purchase of the Columbus Crew from its current ownership structure," Watt wrote in a blog post on the company's website on Saturday, "and then immediately look to sell at least half of it back to the fans through crowdfunding."

BrewDog, which built its U.S. headquarters in Canal Winchester, has raised tens of millions of dollars and built itself a rabid fan base of tens of thousands of people, by selling bits of itself to individuals through crowdfunding. BrewDog has offered five rounds of crowdfunding in the United Kingdom, and a recent U.S. round of what BrewDog calls "Equity for Punks" raised $7 million.

Watt also may have some cash to put down in an effort to woo Anthony Precourt, current Crew investor/operator (as club owners are called in Major League Soccer) to the bargaining table.

BrewDog sold a minority share of itself earlier this year for more than $250 million to a private equity firm. Watt and co-founder Martin Dickie received tens of millions or dollars, while the company got about $100 million in cash.

Watt didn't toss out any dollar figures in his blog post, but Precourt paid $68 million for the Crew in 2013, a price that included the team's stadium.

"We have now joined the discussion and effort with the Columbus Partnership and city and county officials to #SaveTheCrew," Watt wrote. "Like most fans, we believe in the power of great teams to galvanize their communities. The Columbus Crew is an important and long-standing part of our community. We stand with the passionate football (soccer) lovers across the world who believe that the game belongs to the fans."

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