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Hunt family puts Columbus Crew franchise up for sale

Kansas City Chiefs owners want to transfer the Columbus Crew franchise to local ownership.

Ned Dishman

The Hunt Sports Group, owners of the Kansas City Chiefs and two MLS franchises, are attempting to sell their Columbus Crew franchise to a local owner, according to a report in the Columbus Dispatch. The Hunts were initial investors in both the Columbus and Kansas City MLS franchises, and later purchased the Dallas franchise. They sold the Kansas City team in 2006 to a local ownership group, and plan to do the same with the Crew.

As MLS Commissioner Don Garber told the Dispatch, the sale is in accord with MLS's desire to get local ownership for its franchises:

"We've been working to find a local partner in Columbus, Ohio for the Columbus Crew. The Hunts still own two MLS teams. They've made a commitment to get out, and we are encouraging them to do so but will only do so with the right owner, so we're spending a lot of time on that."

Lamar Hunt, whose financial holdings are held in the Hunt Sports Group, created the Dallas Texans in 1959 and moved them to Kansas City, rechristening them as the Chiefs, in 1963. He was also a longtime promoter of professional soccer in America, founding the Dallas Tornados of the North American Soccer League in 1967 and co-founding MLS in 1996. Hunt died in 2006, soon after selling the Kansas City MLS franchise. His son, Clark Hunt, is now the chairman of the Chiefs and FC Dallas.