Five Things to Know About New Columbus Crew Stadium
A guide to the new Columbus Crew stadium, Lower.com Field, including its rebrand, cost and location.
On Oct. 12, 2018, MLS announced plans to keep the Crew in Columbus—as long as the new owners built a Downtown stadium. On July 3, right as the country fully emerged from its coronavirus cocoon, that facility hosted its first game for the league’s defending champs. Here’s a guide to New Crew Stadium (which, thanks to a partnership with Lower announced in June, is now named Lower.com Field.)
Where is it?
The stadium is on Nationwide Boulevard, a quarter-mile west of Huntington Park in a forthcoming development called Astor Park. Its garage won’t open this year, but the Crew promises 6,300 parking spots within a 10-minute walk. Executive vice president and chief business officer Steve Lyons says that total includes temporary lots west of the stadium, adjacent private lots and garages closer to Nationwide Arena. There will also be a footbridge over the Olentangy River that will connect to a network of bike trails.
What’s the pregame situation?
A 62,000-square-foot plaza to the southeast will have food trucks and music, overlooked by the pub-style Crew House restaurant. Between that and the beer garden across the stadium, the organization hopes supporters will gather on-site in the absence of a proper tailgating location—though Lyons says Astor Park is “kind of our open canvas right now,” and fans may opt to congregate elsewhere nearby.
Where can supporters cheer like maniacs?
The stadium seats 20,000, including a 3,356-capacity “safe standing” Nordecke area with “excellent sightlines,” says Lyons. “The entire stadium is steeper. There’s no bad seat within the bowl.” There are on-field suites, club levels and terraces behind the Nordecke. Per Lyons, some premium seats are “as close to the pitch as MLS guidelines allow,” and the farthest seats are 28 feet closer than the last row at Historic Crew Stadium. Thanks to a roof that covers every seat, it might get loud.
How is the Crew’s rebrand (and re-rebrand) related?
Ahead of the stadium opening, the Crew announced a name change to Columbus SC—keeping “The Crew” as an official nickname—and a new crest with a jagged C inside an Ohio flag outline. After a fan revolt, the team settled on Columbus Crew (no more SC) and tweaked the new logo. Stadium designer HNTB had subtly factored elements of the rebrand into their work—particularly the lighting, Lyons explains.
How much did it cost?
According to the Crew, the stadium cost $313.8 million: $217.5 million in private money, plus $20 million from the state, $25 million from a state-funded loan and $51.3 million in bonds paid for by Franklin County. Then there’s the cost of converting the previous stadium site into the team’s training center and a community sports park (for which Columbus pledged $50 million) and of developing Astor Park (another $63 million in city money). Decrying the use of public funds for the project two years ago, Columbus Alive columnist Scott Woods called Save The Crew “a civic and community movement that only serves itself.” Referring to the Crew as “good community partners,” Lyons counters by touting the stadium district’s potential economic impact, the benefits of the community sports park and the woman- and minority-owned companies hired for construction. The fruits of their labor—and all that spending—will be on display July 3.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect events that occurred after the July issue of Columbus Monthly went to press.