2010 Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes: April 2010

April 2010

VOTING (One vote per seat) – Council seems to be in support of the ‘one seat, one vote’ idea.  Drew Carey’s suggestions of having a name associated with every seat and vote seemed to be the most favored idea… although, there was still some concern for giving too much control to a corporation or ticket broker.  Ideas varied from having an exception for large ticketholders by giving a percentage vote per seats, or max number of votes (4?) per acct, to using an ‘opt in’ type email address idea.-          “I’m in support of adding a 4 vote limit per account.  I don’t like the idea of someone being able to be overrepresented.”

–          “It seemed to me that the sub-account system that Drew Carey crafted is ideal. It allows greater email access by the club…   it limits the likelihood that brokers and corporate interests flood the Council”

–          “I’m partial towards an opt-in style voting system. If account holders with multiple tickets register a name and e-mail address, and that person confirms this registration (via e-mail I assume), then they receive an additional vote. This can be done as many times as the person has tickets. If the account holder does not have more than 1 ticket, or does not register an additional name to the account, than no additional votes are awarded.”

–          “For large corporations who buy 400 season tickets, is it possible to give them a percentage of account holders based on the number of tickets they buy?  For every 25 season tickets they buy, they get 1 account/vote.  This would be a guideline for big corporations….  For smaller account members ( households who buy 3 or 4) we ask them while they are purchasing season tickets if they intend to share their season tickets or if they would like just one person as the official account holder.  If they … provide the others full names, e-mails, and mailing addresses before the transaction even goes through…  Those who want to have a say will take the time to have more than 1 account/vote.”

–          “One seat, one vote, with a provision that an account holder needs to be a certain age or older- say 14 to 16ish?    Corporate accounts should be prohibited from voting at all.  The Supreme Court might have said that corporations are people and have total free speech and can spend whatever they want, but the Sounders don’t have to…   Truly dedicated soccer fans who are at Microsoft can (and almost certainly do) buy their own season tickets anyway.  They therefore get their vote from there.  I would throw in a provision that if there’s a ‘corporate’ account that was purchased by a group of folks, and they want to convert it to a personal account, that should happen..”

–          “I like giving a name to every seat to enable the change to one seat, one vote.  If a name/email is supplied, more people will be able to participate in ‘Democracy in Sports’ while also becoming more informed.   No need to limit voting age as parents paid for the seat and should still receive the vote.  As well, parents can get their kids involved in the process, if they are interested… wouldn’t want to take Jr. Capo or other young highly involved supporters vote away.  FO really can’t judge who should vote.  Everyone should have the opportunity.”

–          “I think that Drew’s idea from our last meeting would work, but I’m also a proponent for changing to a one vote per ticket system. The issue of large corporations potentially manipulating the councils decisions due to the fact that they would have a vote majority if we went to the ‘one vote per ticket’ system is silly. Yes they would have more votes than any other group of people but that wouldn’t matter because the council would be much larger so their ‘advantage’ would average out. Plus, let’s not kid ourselves, the council has power to make decisions but only the decisions that the FO allows us make.”

AWAY FANS – Council seems overwhelming concerned with keeping seats available for out of town teams, so that there will be seats available to us when we travel.  This year isn’t as big of a concern as next year, when Portland and Vancouver join the league.  Talks with Portland and Vancouver should begin now.

–          “I strongly support accommodating a large number of away fans, so we are treated accordingly.”

–          “I also strongly encourage as many away fans to be allowed in as practical. The LEAGUE needs it. Most of the stadiums are too small for the sport to ever succeed.” –          “This year isn’t an issue for this.  Nobody is going to bring more than 200 fans to our stadium.  What I would like to see (league-wide, actually) is …that every stadium has to set aside at least 250 seats (if they want to do more that’s allowed) and leave them available for sale until 14 days prior to the game, at which point the unsold tickets can be released to the home fans if the home club so chooses. I think the Sounders can lead the way by doing this.  If we’re so sure we’re going to sell every seat for the entire season anyway, then having a couple hundred come onto the market with two weeks to sell them won’t be an issue.”

–          “I would like to get the research/statistics of the number of tickets sold for each team’s visiting fans that came to Qwest per game and number of tickets Sounders fans bought or were put aside for us at away games.  We can alter the number of seats per game we give to visiting teams based on these facts and their factors such as visiting fans’ traveling costs, distance, the rivalry between the 2 teams, and most importantly their fan base… I think it can be predicted easier with the statistics in front of us and help is come to an agreement based on these facts.”

–          “I say the more the merrier. It shouldn’t matter if they can’t reciprocate the number of tickets we provide to them. Some of them can’t even physically accommodate large numbers of people in the stadiums. All that matters is the level of support WE generate. I can tell you from experience, when there is more away support at one of our home games our intensity level rises to the occasion. It’s a pride thing. Just stick em’ all in the 300 level.”

GOLDEN SCARFThe new idea hasn’t been received well.  Even though many agreed to help with the nominations, Council feels the club’s idea wasn’t executed properly.  It has actually become a joke, changing the tradition into something completely different.

–          “I vote to strongly remove membership council from handling the Golden Scarf debacle and nomination.  Too much work and the FO found a way to push off a bunch of crap work, and label it democracy in sports.”

–          “I haven’t heard anyone say much of anything nice about the Golden Scarf this year.  I don’t get why the club is trying to pretend it’s not like the raising of the 12th Man Flag that the Seahawks do when it looks like it was modeled after exactly that.   Not to take anything away from any of the nominees, but the club’s process for the whole thing is a load of crap and frankly I’m not taking part in it.  Had we voted on it and had control over the process instead of it being decided and sloughed off onto us, that would be different.”

–          “I noticed on the Sounders Facebook wall there were long discussions/comments about the Golden Scarf and most said they felt like it was kind of a joke.”

FRIENDLIES – There was strong support that no politically tainted clubs should be considered for our ‘Friendly’ matches.

–          “I would also like to state that the FO should stay away from bringing politically tainted teams to Seattle for friendlys.” –          “I object to clubs that have used bigotry to generate profits from coming to Seattle and play in “friendlies.” The team claims that community is a core value, and for that to be true than the community’s values should be respected. There should quite simply be some standard to be met by teams visiting the community.”

OTHER ISSUES MENTIONED – Several other issues were mentioned, although not enough comments to add as a subject for themselves. –          Horns – “We were once promised that we would hear back on the horns, and whether our words last year had an effect on them being sold/not sold. It would be great to see the results of that.”

–          Alliance Correspondences– “We’re too big for email.  IMO, we should set up our own bulletin board forum.  When it comes to online communication, emails to groups works up to a certain number of people, and beyond that it doesn’t work.  We’re past that number and will likely have a few more members join us this year.
If we want to do it then I can have it up and running within a few or several days.  We can even give Bart and the owners access (read-only if we so choose) to the BBS/forum so they can see what is going on.  Plus we can do polls and votes that way if we want.” –          Beer –          No Ads/band during run of play.  Ads too loud at halftime. –          Cameras blocking some season ticketholders views.

–           Fans wonder why there’s not an extended time clock or if reg. clock can continue to run.

–       Fans wonder why Sounders victory lap starts at midfield.  Some sections feeling excluded (Sections 110-114).

2009 Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes: August 2009

8/27/09  Conference Call

MLS Supporters Summit and Cup Final
Planning will begin next week between the Sounders Supporters Groups, MLS and Sounders FC in preparation for the Nov. 22nd Cup Final weekend festivities and events. Stay tuned for more details from the Supporters Groups and Alliance Council!

Sounders FC has been in talks with the MLS to find ways to ensure and encourage that Sounders fans show up for the Cup Final and host an enthusiastic, full stadium, to represent Seattle well across the league and finish out our inaugural season strong! It will be Fall in Seattle, so the weather may not be great…but we still need to drag ourselves out of bed and show why Seattle is the best home for soccer in the nation.

We were asked to share any ideas we might have on encouraging local attendance. There is talk of trying to provide a musical act at pre-game or half-time (The Council felt it would take a fairly well-know name to create a real draw). Other ideas discussed were to: encourage people to donate their ticket to a person who hasn’t had the chance to enjoy a game yet, send out a Sounders players to the sections to watch the game with fans, or provide a pre-game festival in the North Lot similar to the Mexico/China match.

Season Ticket Deposits and Renewals

There have already been 6,000 deposits of $50 each put down by those wishing to get season tickets next year. If projected renewals are high, the front office will again be considering the pros and cons of opening up additional seating capacity at Qwest.

There was a great deal of feedback heard by the Front Office regarding the standing or sitting issue early in the season, but they have heard less concern as the season progressed, and renewal preferences may better inform the situation. In general, it appears that the charter-level 100 seats prefer to stand, and club-level 200 seats prefer to sit, with the majority of those preferring to stand concentrated behind the goal ends (with the Supporter Groups), and sitters concentrated near mid-field. If you are an Alliance Member and have a specific seating request for next year, please contact your ticket rep and let them know now, so they can note it on your account, and can work to accommodate your needs. Renewal calls from ticket reps will be beginning very soon.

2010 Sounders Schedule
The good news is, the groundskeepers at Qwest have been able to turn over the field from soccer lines to football lines quickly, and will only get better with time. But, Qwest has an agreement with the city that only allows a certain number of games to be played at the same time as the Mariners. The Alliance Council felt that they were hearing a preference for night games from the fans for next season and passed that along, though again, scheduling for the Mariners and Seahawks will come into play.

While we definitely were given a treat this year with two exhibition games and the Cup Finals, there will be exhibition games included in our season ticket packages next season. After very successful Barcelona and Chelsea matches (with Chelsea speaking well of Seattle on their return), the front office has been hearing interest from other English and Mexican league teams interested in visiting Seattle. In addition, MLS will be watching the 2010 World Cup situation and how it impacts the league schedule. Though most World Cup matches should be airing in the morning (unless on replay), and won’t overlap with evening Sounders games. There might also be the possibility of Training Camp being open to fans next year (similar to what the Seahawks have offered in the past). Council members thought fans would be interested in attending training camp if access was possible.

2010 Open Cup
The conversation continues regarding the use of Starfire vs. Qwest as the location for Open Cup matches next season. While Starfire has parking, seating, access and facility limitations…it did provide an intimate and alternate viewing environment for fans, which many enjoyed. They are looking into getting a better turf playing surface installed, and exploring ideas for solving seating and parking issues. While many on the Council voiced a strong preference for Qwest (as it would likely mean a larger draw), others acknowledged that Starfire had worked pretty well, and Qwest would likely draw around 10,000 fans vs. Starfires 3-4,000.

There was additional conversation surrounding the Broadcasters, PA Announcer, all of which will also be considered anew as we approach next year. Plans for the pre-game, in-person Council meeting continue.

2009 Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes: July 2009

7/23/09 posted

A report from the July 8th Alliance Conference Call with the Sounders own Bart Wiley

First In-person Meeting of the Alliance Council
Date to be set in the near future, prior to a home game near, or at, the stadium (several hours prior to pre-function activities, so all can attend).

Improvements to the Council Voting system
While not perfect, the vote system this season has sufficed. Whether a “one seat=one vote” model is possible or preferable is still up for debate, both logistically and in terms of balancing corporate, ticket broker, individual or other group purchaser’s representational power…while still allowing individual fans to feel they are getting value from their Alliance Membership and Season Ticket (personal vote, discount card, email communication).

There have been some limitations to the current vendor voting software, in that season ticket holder access was processed in batches causing some access problems. Next year, the possibility of a streamed feed is being looked at. Unfortunately, there isn’t a public access point for the software to allow public access to vote standings.

Section Preferences for Next Season
Many fans this season found themselves in sections that were non-conducive to how they hoped to enjoy the game…whether preferring to sit, stand, wave flags, blow horns, proximity to the band, beer consumption…or otherwise. Ticket reps will be calling season ticket holders soon to discuss renewals, and will be asking about fan experience this year, and asking what they’d hope for next year.

The Council heard from many fans this season who felt they were in the wrong section…also, many were still accessing section preference tools available at Ticketmaster and Sounders FC. The Council recommended updating these tools with current preferences and profiles for sections so renewing season ticket holders can make more informed decisions.

Plastic Horns
Under consideration…as there’s a range of strong opinions regarding their use/sale…both pro and against. Council members reported hearing from many dissatisfied fans and hearing of several confrontations arising from disagreements over horns at games.

Vancouver and Portland preparations for 2011
Sounders FC has been in contact with Vancouver and Portland. There will be reserved sections for visiting supporters at both Qwest (section 203) and the rival cities. Their season ticket holder sales may impact how many extra seats will be available for traveling Sounders fans. The Council also strongly suggested preparing now for strategies to keep fan separation between teams at games…as a way to head off conflicts, and commended the good work done so far at Qwest and gave some suggestions for improvement. The Sounders FC is also already in discussions with the other teams regarding this issue. Regarding traveling supporters. At this time Sounders FC will not be organizing travel arrangements, but will assist supporter groups as they are able. This may be reviewed next year to see if changes are needed.

Partial season ticket holders from the band move
Discussed previously…it was felt value/alliance status should be given to those who put money up early for season tickets. Also, many moved from other areas of the stadium and already enjoyed STH status.

International Supporters Clubs
The front office will be focusing on building the club for the immediate future, and encouraged Council members or those hoping to help support international clubs to put together a plan for review/consideration. One suggestion was for international groups to consider the successful ECS model, putting together a package for international fans (scarf, pin, membership card, etc) and letting it grow organically.

Council Impact and Responsibilities
The Council heard back that they are indeed having an impact, and Sounders staff have been pleased with the feedback they’ve been getting. They assured us that they are hearing the fans. The Council is also acting as a sounding board and stewards for the club/brand, and the Front Office is working to take our initiatives under consideration and into action. In the future, the Council would like to continue to have their discussions available on the Sounders FC site blogs, to better keep the fans connected and informed. And keep an eye out for more issue threads on the forum.