2017 Meeting Minutes Meetings

Meeting Minutes: July 2017



July 10, 2017 – 7:00 PM – The NINETY

Present (13 of 16): Nicholaus Biela, Nick Biesold, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Mike Dollard, Alex Eagleton, Roberta King, Darla Langdon, Jeremy Monsivais, Karl Picard, Daniel Roe, Stephanie Steiner, Kristina Vaughn, and Jeff Williams.

Via telephone (1): Bill Kaczaraba

Absent (2): Nicholaus Biela and Steve Wilson.

I. Call to order – Stephanie Steiner

II. Roll – Cameron Collins: 13 of 16 Present

III. Ticket Renewals: Mikaela Purvis, Director of Membership Engagement & Retention

A. Retention → Their top goal is retention. They hope to increase ticket member retention by enriching the ticket members’ lives and creating moments through soccer. The goals break down in to six areas: 1) relationship with club, 2) customer service, 3) sales, 4) engagement, 5) events, and 6) benefits.

a. Relationship with club: Focus on creating camps and other opportunities for kids and the community; supporting the supporter groups and the Alliance Council; and the matchday experience.

b. Customer service: Focus on reactive problem solving and proactive communication.

c. Sales: Focus on referrals, group premium outings, and upselling.

d. Engagement: Focus on social media, rewards, touchpoints, and “wow moments.”

e. Events: Focus on access to players and bonding with other fans.

f. Benefits: Focus on savings, access, and rewards/experiences.

B. Midseason Survey: The Club sent out a mid-season survey to Alliance Members to see how they are using their benefits, what their satisfaction is with benefits, and the likelihood that they would renew.

a. The top 3 benefits were Options to Resell, Alliance Member Scarf, and Pro Shop Discount.

b. People were highly satisfied with mobile ticketing.

c. People were satisfied with the Alliance Council.

d. The only area of dissatisfaction was Matchpass Perks. Only about 25 to 30% of Alliance Members use their Matchpass Perks and people are primarily entered in to random drawings.

e. Although people aRe fond of their Alliance Member Scarves, the Club liked the opportunity the Council proposed where Alliance Members could forego their scarf, donating its value to charity. In 2018, this opportunity will be available during renewal. Decisions are for the entire account; Every ticket must give up the scarf for the entire account. All donations will be used for Rave Foundation’s soccer ball program. Delta Airlines will be matching the donations. The Council would like the Club to ask Delta Airlines if they can also match Alliance Member donations directly to Rave Foundation, as a Member may not want to forego their scarf.

C. Season Ticket Member Celebration: on August 13th, the Sounders will be having an event at CenturyLink Field from 11 am to 2 pm to celebrate the fans.

D. Autorenewal: a large percentage of accounts are still set to opt-in, but following this renewal period, every account will be set to autorenewal. With autorenewal, if you choose not to renew, you simply fill out an online form that deals with the process.

E. Renewal Process: The renewal period is August 1-September 1. Relocations will take place September 11-29. Must have renewed current location to be eligible for relocation. Playoff Tickets & new sales will take place in October.

F. Sitting vs. Standing: The Council brought up the perennial topic of Sitting versus Standing. The current conversation has been that the Sounders do not want to dictate whether a section sits or stands. It is majority rules. If the majority choose to sit, it is a sitting section. If they choose to stand, it is a standing section.

a. The issue that several members of the Council raised is that in the stands, as a practical matter, it is “monkey see, monkey do.” People do not necessarily know they have the ability to have their section be a sitting section, and if people in the front row stand, it means everyone will end up having to stand.

b. Because everyone believes they have to stand, how will the Club communicate that this is an option? Could a survey be part of the renewal process?

c. A survey could potentially show that this is not a major issue, that it is a vocal minority who raise the issue.

d. The Council noted that the Club would likely worry that asking as part of the renewal process could open a can of worms and set the expectation that change is coming, and that there would need to be a plan in place on enforcement in a section. Currently, in the Club sections, security handle the issue when someone stands in the sitting sections. The Front Office will discuss this matter further.

IV. Alliance Council Survey

Martin Buckley Alliance Council Members from 2015 – 2017 were asked to take a survey on what they thought the Council did well, and what they thought could be improved. The survey had a 74% response rate. The focus was on perception, open-ended responses, improvements, areas of strength, and areas of weakness.

A. Would you recommend joining the Council? Common themes included historical tedium of the Constitution, Front Office perceptions, Council Member expectations, and Work vs. Fun. People either loved or hated being on Council; there was very little in-between.

B. Alliance Council on the Front Office: Three years of the Alliance Council spoke and felt that the Front Office did not take the Council seriously, primarily treating the Council as a focus group rather than as a partner. Roberta gave the historical perspective that in the beginning, the relationship was very adversarial, so the Council got off on the wrong foot from the outset. The feeling was that it does seem to be getting better.

C. What would make the Alliance Council better? There was a wide range of ideas on how we could improve. The main takeaways were outreach so that the Alliance could know more about Democracy in Sports, having a budget to help with independence and potentially forming a non-profit, and better follow up from the body of the Council.

V. Council Initiatives

A. Scarf Vote – Kristina Vaughn & Roberta King: It is coming up quickly. All members of the committee should be ready to vote because it will require a quick turnaround to narrow all of the entries down to the five that will be presented to the Alliance for a vote.

B. 10-year Anniversary of the Alliance – Roberta King & Bil Kaczaraba: Roberta presented that she has made an outline of topics and requested volunteers to work on the project. The work will include writing articles, filming interviews, and more. Bill and Roberta will be collaborating with President Steiner on how best to move the project forward.

C. Constitution Vote – Martin Buckley: The Alliance-wide vote on the new Constitution is ongoing. Thus far, of those who click through to the Alliance Council webpage, 60% follow through to the voting site.

V. Monthly Call with Front Office

Stephanie Steiner and Martin Buckley had their monthly scheduled call with the Front Office. In the call with the FO, they focused on their frustration that the email sent to the Alliance about Constitution Voting being live had a subject line about Bowling with Players. Many people did not even open the email because of that headline. More traffic came to the Alliance Council webpage than came from twitter than came from their email. If Democracy in Sports is going to be a pillar of the organization, they need to treat it as such, rather than as a pillar of marketing. Stephanie and Martin also expressed the Council’s frustration that the Constitution vote did not receive equal billing with the Rave Foundation’s bowling event in an email nor in the stadium. The Club interpretation was that in our relationship we have very high highs and very low lows. We need to work on the low so that they do not happen in the future. They understand that the Council relationship with Gary Wright has been created to help improve the relationship between the Club and the Council.

VI. Open Conversation

A. Council Tables at CenturyLink Field: In August, we have the opportunity as a Council to have tables on the concourse at two matches: 8/12 & 8/20. We will use the opportunity to promote the Alliance Council and create more visibility, as well as promote the Scarf Vote.

VII. Adjournment

Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.

3 replies on “Meeting Minutes: July 2017”

I would like to know if there is any way to push back against all of these day games and Sunday games. This year we have had very few Saturday night games, and those are by far the most fun.


I would like to put in a request to have more National Anthem conductors, rather than singers. Singing the NA as a group is so much more satisfying and gets the crowd rallied together. Some of these singers don’t want us to sing with them, and they belt it out like a pop star. That is NOT what our anthem is about. So, PLEASE, more CONDUCTORS, and less CROONERS.


Please take on the topic of security and how we are treated at the gates. I have a letter sorta writen that is meant for management as I think that we are treated so badly when we arrive that our attendance will go down because of it. Especially those families that come together only a few matches per year. I will try to attach my letter here:
Dear Team Owner,
Have you begun to notice how many of your fans are being annoyed, harassed and or denied entry to matches lately? Have you seen how many of us arrive frowning, gritting our teeth or crying after what is called “security” has been endured. Is attendance slowly dropping?
After the Portland game the line to pick up belongings was so long I am sure many people chose to lose their belongings rather than wait or they waited two hours to get their belongings for which they had spent money to not bring into the match. Many of these same folks missed the kickoff and the Sounders only goal. Their children were crying because the checkers took away their belongings – juice boxes, stuffed toys, their little backpacks … the list is endless. The lines moved so slowly that thousands were still outside the gates well after the Portland match started. This is not the way to treat your fans. We pay money to watch soccer not to stand on line endlessly. The very LEAST that could be done would be beefing up staff to get us in on time. The stricter they get the more time it takes. The more fans they reject who end up rejoining the lines, the more staff they need to expedite the process.
The inspections are inconsistent from person to person and from one game to the next. The training for these people should be consistent. There should be enough people on staff to allow people to get into the stadium within 15 or 20 minutes NOT two hours. I watched one young woman who had her keys and wallet removed from a cute plastic bag she had on her back and then she was told the wallet was too big and she couldn’t bring it in. She was emptying it out into her pockets as I left. She kept repeating, “It’s a wallet.” But there was no changing the guy’s mind. She lost the cute little transparent plastic sack she’d come in with because she had had the audacity to have worn it on her back.
I wasn’t allowed to bring my clear plastic backpack in even though I had it rolled up inside the bag provided with my season ticket. What exactly is dangerous about a backpack? Why can’t I use it to carry my things in, in the first place? I need it to ride buses so I have my hands free. At times, if I am feeling unsteady I need one of my hands for a cane. How can I carry a bag in the other hand and be comfortable walking much less boarding a bus? I am 74 years old. I need my hands free so I don’t get hurt. IRONICALLY THE STADIUM RULES HAVE MADE IT UNSAFE FOR ME TO ATTEND.
Families with small children were sent to turn in things they needed. People arrived inside frustrated and angry. Do you think they will be back?? Ever???
The staffing needs to realize that a soccer match is a family event. We rarely get drunk and we behave. We should not be punished for bad behavior of Seahawks fans (if there even is any). The Sounders owners need to be outside witnessing the mess the stadium has created by their barbaric attitudes toward us. Many of the staff out there are truly on power trips. They think they can be as mean to us as they want to. They need TRAINING to learn to treat paying customers properly. There are nice ways to be safe. Irritating people makes everyone edgy and less safe.
If the stadium guidelines are so tight that a normal size woman’s wallet is “too big” then indeed there is something wrong with the guidelines. If children’s stuffed toys are considered dangerous then there is something wrong with the guidelines. If a backpack is unsafe by virtue of its strap location or the way it is carried, then the guidelines need to be rethought and made rational. And there is no excuse for the attitude and abuse we received from those enforcing those guidelines so strictly. I, personally, have actually been denied entrance to a match for having the audacity to argue the irrational nature of the rules. I’m sure I am not the only one. No one deserves to be treated the way they treat us. No one has the right to treat us as if we are criminals. The game will suffer and people, just to retaliate, may find ways to bring in things that ARE dangerous just to show the stupidity of what’s being done outside the gates. Something needs to be done to change the rules, the attitudes and the strictness of the way the rules are enforced. Making small children cry is inexcusable. Alienating their parents means they won’t come back. You lost a lot of fans as a result of the Portland match
I have been a season ticket holder since the mid-90’s and have never witnessed an incident at a Sounders match involving oversized wallets … or backpacks … or stuffed toys. Nor have I even seen anyone pull a knife or throw a punch. Of course they may find a way next to make certain we can’t throw that punch … or kick, for that matter. I hate to think of what’s next.
I strongly suggest that Sounders ownership join the crowd outside the gates regularly to witness the brutality themselves. Dress down and go through the lines carrying what you assume most people carry and go through the checkpoints. You will be amazed and horrified by the ordeal. Time how long it takes. See for yourselves how the mood changes after the game starts and people are still yards away from the humiliation they are to soon endure.
There is no excuse for us to spend over five hours at the stadium for a two-hour match. There is little to no benefit to be gained. I question the legality of some of the man-handling that has taken place. I have be known to state vociferously, “Don’t touch me,” to no avail. One of the (nicer) staff justified the searches based on the number of pocket knives they had confiscated. I questioned why the number of utilitarian knives meant anything. I opined that it is the number of knifings that have occurred in the nearly fifty years we have been watching the Sounders play that really counts. Lest we forget, knives now can be hidden or camouflaged in all kinds of ways. And there are also nasty knives made of today’s plastics.
The punishment we receive at the hands of the egotistic, power plays at the gates is out of proportion to the problems encountered in the stadium before the search procedures were in place. It’s severely un-American to impose cruel and unusual punishment for the crimes we have (not) committed as loyal fans.
Please renegotiate these barbaric practices with the stadium and make it more pleasant for us to continue to attend matches. If you meet with resistance terminate the contract at CenturyLink. There HAS to be a better way.
At the beginning of nearly every match I have registered a complaint at the fan services desk. At times I even chose to miss more of the match to do it. Most people don’t bother. Talk to the people on the ridiculously long lines to drop off or pick up their incredibly dangerous contraband. Look at what’s been checked in and decide if having taken away these items has made the place safer. Check the barrels where people have chosen to dump things rather than go stand on line. You will be amazed.
Please let me know what steps you plan to take to mitigate these horrific practices. Please tell me about what you have witnessed on your trips outside the gates with your fans. Stand on line with something questionable. Tell me how much time you have spent doing these observations. Distribute surveys to your most loyal fans (not the ECS, they get treated differently by virtue of the Tifo they bring in). Promise us an enjoyable experience before AND during the matches we attend. It’s the least we deserve.
Now is the time to do it. It is season-ticket renewal time.

I travel and go to many large festivals and events. I attend operas, theater and lectures. No one treats us worse or is more invasive than Centurylink’s inconsistently applied processes. When did it become necessary for security in a sports stadium to be so much tighter and more invasive than security at the airport? At least those working at the airport are trained and folks over seventy are given deferential treatment. Kids and old people are endangered parts of the population. They take away only dangerous things. There is no such thing as oversized or wrongly shaped items. There are little to no restrictions that are left to the discretion of the person doing the job. They have guidelines which are uniform and predictable. Take a lesson from the professionals.
The people at the gate work neither for the Sounders nor the stadium. They come from StaffPro where anyone can work if they own black pants. They will recruit everywhere. I used to work occasionally for these organizations and the quality of staff decreases in direct proportion to the number of people needed at any particular time. They have virtually no requirements for staff they recruit. I did it because sometimes it was fun to attend an event I would otherwise not have seen. It was amusing to see a pro wrestling match on the stage used for gospel music the night before.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s