SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL
April 3, 2018 – 7:00 PM – The NINETY
Present (14 of 18): Lisa Angeles, Nicholaus Biela, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Todd Cowles, Michael Dollard, Alex Eagleton, Roberta King, Darla Langdon, Jerry Neil, Daniel Roe, Stephanie Steiner, Molly Wagner, and Jeff Williams.
Via telephone (0): none.
Absent (4): Nick Biesold, Peter Buck, Jesse Kilgore, and Gilbert Ko.
I. Call to order – Martin Buckley
II. Roll – Cameron Collins: 14 of 18 Present
III. Meeting with in-stadium concessions – First & Goal Hospitality (FGH)
Michael Johnson (First & Goal Hospitality Executive Chef), Reid Henderson (First & Goal Hospitality Sous Chef), Abby Hetterich (First & Goal Hospitality Director of Premium Services), and Emily Schultz (Sounders Suite Services Manager)
Council was able to try some of the new food options that are going to be offered.
A. Focus for 2018: Community Partnerships, Sustainability, Varieties of Food & Beverage, and Celebrating the 1st Year of First and Goal Hospitality (FGH)
→ New Spaces: Elysian Brewery will have a new area. Club refresh will be taking place with additions of Din Tai Fung and expansion of FGH’s Smokehouse. The Smokehouse will have tea brined smoked wings and the beef brisket will be chopped and cut in front of customer. The smokehouses will open in the Club April 22.
→ Community Partnerships: They will continue to foster relationships within SODO, Chinatown-International District, and Pioneer Square. They will expand the Stadium Street Market concept to include other vendors from greater Seattle and King County, inviting these vendors to the main concourse. When they have openings, FGH also uses their own chefs to try out new recipes. This practice has included many interesting vegan and vegetarian menu items. They are bringing in Thai Curry Simple and Rainshadow Meats as vendors, and have signed an exclusive agreement with Country Natural Beef to provide hormone-free, primarily grass-fed beef from local sustainable farms. They have also signed an agreement with Collins Family Orchards.
FGH has made it a priority to focus on women and minority owned businesses, like East Anchor Seafood, a local woman-owned business, who will provide all of the seafood for concessions.
→ Sustainability: They have a 90% diversion rate away from landfill as a stadium. The compostables created at the step get sent to a local farm which is used top grow the produce used by FGH. This means that all of the produce is certifiably organic and locally grown, coming from less than 25 miles away. They are focused on hyper-local sourcing in the stadium, whether in concessions or catering. They have gone from 15-20 products from local vendors to 85 products. They are also the only stadium in the nation that fresh bakes their own pizzas.
B. Questions and Comments from the Concessions Group (Alex Eagleton, Jerry Neil, & Mike Dollard) and the Rest of the Council:
→ Sounders need to promote all of this more. People generally assume stadium food is bad. Our fanbase would love to know about this, and they would support it.
→ Choice, especially on the 300 level, is a complaint. We’d love to see some of the suite and club food trickle down to the general fanbase.
→ With the rise of obesity in our country, we would like to see more calorie-free choices in the fountain drinks offered in the stadium. They are introducing unsweetened teas this year.
→ The Sofia Coppola Rosé is very popular. Why is more not available? They can only get a certain amount, and once it sold out until last year, they couldn’t get more until the new year. They will, however, be introducing Frozé (Frozen Rosé) later this season.
→ The Rising beer prices brought up. Council expressed complaints from the fans. They hear our concerns and will take the feedback up the chain. Last season they got the feedback that there were too many IPAs and have acted upon it.
→ Concerns about some of the food quality. The best way to give feedback is to write to your ticket representative. When doing so, the more detail that can be provided, the better. The more specific it is, the more they can deal with any issues.
→ Vegan and vegetarian options are simply not good enough. The quality, overall, has gone up, and we are grateful, but it would be nice to be able to get more options throughout stadium and the ability for vendors to do special orders when possible. They will continue to explore expanding these options and have been looking in to introducing new brands of veggie burgers and sausages. They are focusing on how they could make a dish vegan and not simply vegetarian, when possible, so both demographics would have options. They are also focusing on how to bring in other allergen-free foods for those with such needs.
IV. Bylaw 10, First Reading:
As we have been talking with the Club about the forthcoming General Manager vote, the Front Office asked that we more cleanly define who is eligible to participate in the vote under our new Constitution. The proposed new language for Bylaw 10 is as follows:
10.4 GM Vote and Recall voting eligibility:
10.4.1 Eligible Alliance Voters. Only Alliance Members who have purchased Full Season Ticket or Half Season Ticket packages through the Club are eligible to vote in a GM vote.
10.4.2 Ticket Brokers. Club-identified commercial Ticket Brokers are not eligible to vote in a GM Vote.
The Sounders currently have one ticket broker with whom they work. This broker would be the only entity excluded under this new clause.
V. 2018 Alliance Council Projects
Youth Outreach (Todd Cowles): They talked to someone from the Mariners and they were really open with information on giving away tickets and made themselves available for future conversations. He also talked to the Front Office, asked what their definition was of outreach…and they break it down in to 5 different areas: RAVE, kids club, summer camps, etc. Talked about where council goals and FO goal might cross to create synergy and move forward some big ideas.
Sitting vs. Standing (Roberta King & Lisa Angeles): Group has been working on understanding the history of the issue. The Club have not been willing to deal with the issues. We will make baby steps with them. We are hoping to get a question on the topic in the end of year survey.
Scarf Vote (Roberta King): The schedule from last year was laid out, and Roberta will be working with the Front Office to finalize the schedule for this year and have the Front Office make the vote a priority. Ideally, it would be nice to build in more time between announcement of contest and due date for designs than last year, so as to allow for more entries.
S2 + The Alliance (Darla Langdon): Darla talked with Kyle from SCT. They are committed to remaining independent from the club. They want to keep communication with the Alliance open moving forward. They are focused on their relationship with the Rainiers right now. They are not closed off to the Alliance being involved when needed.
Outreach & Visibility: Group leader Karl Picard has elected to go ex-officio, so the group will work to re-form and come back at the next meeting.
Jerseys (Cameron Collins): This is the third year we have been involved in the jersey conversation. MLS being a single entity, and thus having a single kit provider, causes the choices to be primarily made at an organizationally level by Adidas. The input we give is primarily upon the “mood” and themes of the jersey, rather than individual details. The group met with the Front Office to give input on the themes of the 2020 jersey and will continue to provide feedback to the Club.
GM Vote: The group has had several meetings and will be finalizing their proposed calendar at their next meeting, taking place on the 18th of April.
Food and Beverage (Alex Eagleton): The group will be touring the stadium, eating the food and keeping track of the information they discuss. They are unhappy with the rise in beer prices and will continue a conversation with the Club on beverage selection and pricing.
Community Involvement (Darla Langdon): The group has talked to RAVE foundation about different events they are having where the Alliance Council can get involved and looking in to other ways for RAVE and AC to collaborate. Council needs to start thinking about projects we are passionate about.
Away Travel (Alex Eagleton): Away ticketing is handled by ECS. Alex will continue the conversation as a means to discuss the creation of travel experiences for Sounders Alliance members.
10-Year Anniversary of the Alliance (Roberta King & Molly Wagner): The group has been doing extensive research so as to allow for the best interviews to be done as part of the project. The group will work with the Front Office to see if they can share resources with the Club in creating content.
VI. Executive Committee Member Karl Picard now Ex-Officio: Karl was promoted at work and now feels that he cannot devote the appropriate amount of time he wishes to the Council to achieve all of his goals. The Council is grateful for all that Karl has done for the Council and will greatly miss his voice. Because of Karl’s departure, we will need someone to do write-ups of each Council meeting for the website and to handle social media for the Council. We will also be holding an election for the At-Large Executive Committee position vacated by Karl at the next Council Meeting.
Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.