A business group including the Haslam Family have a deal in place to acquire the Columbus Crew from Anthony Precourt to keep the club from relocating to Austin.
The group is working to secure a new stadium in Columbus.
Precourt will reportedly continue to pursue launching an MLS club in Austin as an expansion team.
"Major League Soccer is excited to move forward in Austin with Precourt Sports Ventures and their vision for Austin FC. Regardless of any scenario in Columbus, there is a clear path forward for PSV to operate Austin FC as a Major League Soccer club," the league said in a statement. "The strong support from Austin’s corporate community, government officials and passionate soccer fans is impressive. Austin is a flourishing, dynamic city that presents a great opportunity for MLS, and we look forward to finalizing plans to become the first major league team in the capital of Texas.
"While timing for Austin FC is still to be finalized, we are confident that the team will begin play no later than 2021 at the new, privately financed stadium and soccer park at McKalla Place. We applaud the Austin community, city leaders and Precourt Sports Ventures for their commitment to making this happen."
With Cincinnati (2019), Nashville (2020) and Miami (2020) already announced officially, that would leave one spot open for the league to get to its current announced goal of 28 teams. Chief candidate cities for that berth include Sacramento, San Diego, Detroit, Phoenix and St. Louis.