The Columbus Crew officially have been saved.

The MLS announced Friday that it reached an agreement in principle with the Haslam and Edwards families to become owners with the team, beginning in January.

The announcement giving control to the ownership group led by Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam and Dr. Peter Edwards Jr., a Columbus-based orthopedist, came shortly after the city of Columbus and state of Ohio dropped their lawsuit against the MLS.

"After several months of discussions, we are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement in principle with the Haslam and Edwards families for them to assume an ownership position in Major League Soccer and operate Columbus Crew SC starting in January 2019," MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement.

"While we work to finalize the deal promptly, we want to state publicly the tremendous collaboration and community support for Crew SC, which has set the stage for a powerful plan that includes a world-class soccer stadium -- a critical step that will help ensure the club's success on and off the field."

Forbes reported in November that the purchase price of the franchise was expected to be $150 million, though that was not confirmed in Friday's announcement.

A $230 million downtown soccer stadium was approved earlier this month. It will seat 20,000, and the 33-acre site will include a riverfront park, 885 new residences and other business ventures.

The plan is for the stadium to be ready for the 2021 season.

The franchise was in jeopardy of being moved to Austin, Texas, by owner Anthony Precourt before the Haslam and Edwards families got involved. The city and state filed the suit against the MLS in hopes of stopping the team from leaving town.

"When we began exploring the possibility of keeping Crew SC in Columbus, the process started with an appreciation for the benefits a professional sports franchise brings to a region. We quickly began positive discussions with Major League Soccer -- the League Office and many of the League's owners," the Haslams and Edwards said in a joint statement.

"We are extremely grateful for the efforts of the Columbus community, as well as Crew SC fans, to help us efficiently complete and fulfill the requirements and deadlines set by Major League Soccer that will help ensure the success of Crew SC on and off the field. Throughout our conversations, it's been overwhelmingly clear that Crew SC belongs in Columbus, and we are thrilled to have reached an agreement in principle to assume an ownership position in Major League Soccer and to operate Columbus Crew SC.

"As the stewards of Crew SC, we will always be focused on building a championship caliber team that makes the city proud, creating dynamic and memorable fan experiences and deeply engaging the community to make a positive impact."

Mapfre Stadium, the club's current home, will be remodeled into a practice facility with a community sports park built around it.

The Crew were one of the original MLS franchises when the league started in 1996.

--Field Level Media

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