The Columbus Crew has announced that Precourt Sports Ventures LLC has acquired the operating rights to the Major League Soccer club from Hunt Sports Group, which has owned and run it since its inception in 1996.

Precourt is a privately held investment and management firm. The sale was announced at a news conference on Tuesday.

"Precourt Sports Ventures, LLC (PSV) is honored to become the new Investor-Operator of the Columbus Crew and thrilled to become a partner in Major League Soccer," said Anthony Precourt, Managing Partner of PSV and the new chairman of the Columbus Crew. "We have long believed in the ascension of soccer in the American sports-entertainment world, so stepping into a Charter Member of the League is an incredible moment"

Clark Hunt, son of the late oilman and sports magnate Lamar Hunt who built the Crew and was a founding father of MLS, said it was a ''bittersweet'' day for his family and company. Hunt Sports Group is still investor-operator of MLS's FC Dallas franchise.

"Although we are very pleased to welcome Anthony to MLS, today is somewhat bittersweet for our family because of how much we love the Crew," Clark Hunt, chairman of the Hunt Sports Group, said in a press statement. "On behalf of my entire family, I want to thank the city of Columbus, the state of Ohio, the Crew players, coaches and staff, and most importantly, the Crew supporters for cultivating one of the most iconic clubs in MLS and allowing us to be a part of it."

The Crew won the MLS Cup in 2008.

BREAKING NEWS: Precourt Sports Ventures acquires #Crew96 from Hunt Sports Group - READ: http://t.co/U2LM8nAtrC

-- Columbus Crew (@ColumbusCrew) July 30, 2013 Our new home! pic.twitter.com/vFGe1wGYIq

-- Anthony Precourt (@APrecourt) July 30, 2013