Categories
2016 Meeting Recaps

Meeting Recap: March 2016

Democracy in Sports photo from The NINETY

photo credit: Karl Picard

By Karl Picard

March 14, 2016

Our last Alliance Council meeting was on 3/1.  We had 15 members attend the meeting and one member that called in.  The meeting started with the AC chatting with Taylor Graham.  The main focus of the discussion was how things went for the Club America match, which was the first home game using the mobile app tickets and other changes.  Overall the feedback from the Council members, based on conversations with fellow fans and season ticket members combined with what we saw on social media, indicated entry and use of the app was pretty smooth.  We did share some isolated issues with Taylor as well.

Security at the Club America game was another matter we discussed, mostly around inconsistencies. This is an area that we are starting to hear more about and are making sure the Front Office is aware of fan concerns.

We also discussed the changes around MatchPass and the fact there are no longer points but rather random drawings or buy it now options for rewards.   They are also using the info gathered from the users of the app and mobile tickets to send targeted emails to Season Ticket Holders (STH). The direct messages were sent prior to the home opener, so you should have seen one prior to  the KC game.  We discussed how there are language options on the Sounders App, including Spanish. Fans who have set their phone to Spanish saw the app in Spanish. Many commented how this was a step in the right direction coming out of the November Annual Business Meeting.

The council spent time discussing app features with Taylor, including the ability to reach your ticket rep during games from the app’s MatchPass Profile page.   The “My Rep” area contains your rep’s email and phone number and even a quick way to add them to your phone contacts.

A question was raised to Taylor about the capping the resale of GA tickets via the Ticket Exchange. He clarified that capping GA resale is not in affect this year but that is being looked into for next year.

A few other items that we’ve made progress towards were around dynamic pricing and the women’s jersey.  The dynamic pricing was discussed and Taylor clarified that this practicehas been in place for a couple seasons now.  Craig Dillon on the Council called out that the ADA tickets seemed to be mis-priced as they were more expensive than those seats around them.  Taylor looked into the issue with the sales team and it has been resolved.  One note, Taylor mentioned that if you are a fan in need they will do all they can to accommodate you.

Stephanie Steiner brought up the subject of our women’s jersey, citing concerns we’ve received over the years regarding the neckline. This  issue got a lot of attention and you should read more about it on the blog.  (We appreciated all the feedback we got via social media around this subject too!!) The Club and adidas™ have heard our concerns and we will keep pushing on this subject to create positive change.

After finishing with Taylor we moved onto the work groups for the year.  The following list captures the areas we are currently focused on but we’ll continue to refine as necessary as the season progresses:

  • GM Recall and Alliance Council Membership Eligibility – finalize the Charter, Bylaws and Constitution so they can be voted upon in 2016.
  • Support Group – clarification on the bylaw and how Support groups are recognized
  • Visibility Group – social media, blog, outreach and charity involvement to ensure the Alliance Council Members know what is happening and that we are positively impacting area charities.
  • Scarf Vote – ensuring the tradition of our Scarf Vote continues for 2017
  • Kit/Jersey – working with the Front Office to ensure fans have a stake in kit designs
  • Annual Meeting – end of year business review operations
  • Seating Expectations – addressing the sit vs. stand concerns voiced by STMs with the FO and Stadium Operations
  • Women’s Attire/Jersey – working with the Kit/Jersey team, but focused on ensuring there are more options for female fans.
  • STM giveaway – explore options to provide to season ticket members including the traditional scarf vs other items

If any of the above areas are of interest to you or you feel like you have something you want to address as part of fan and game day experiences, we encourage you to run for council. The voting and nomination site is up for the Alliance Council; the more people we have the more change we can impact.

That’s all for March.  Continue to provide feedback via Twitter, Facebook or comments on this blog (scroll down to “leave a reply”).

Categories
2015 Meeting Recaps

Meeting Recap: June 2015

The Ninety display window – photo by Karl Picard

By Karl Picard

This is the second in a series of Alliance Council meeting recaps.  For more information about the Council, click here.

At the June 2nd Alliance Council meeting, which was held at TheNinety, we met with Mikaela Purvis, Fan Relations Manager, to discuss options for Season Ticket Members. Currently, the club is promoting the Priority List where fans can reserve a place on the list to get season tickets in the lower bowl.  Additional benefits for season ticket members are discounts at the pro shop and pre-sale access for other event tickets. The priority list is only for those who want to be new season ticket holders – existing Alliance members are already at the top of the list.

The club consistently renews at a high rate, but they are looking at ways to engage those who have not renewed in order to determine the reason they don’t renew and make sure they aren’t missing anyone. One big change Mikaela mentioned was that the club will have a 6 month payment option that should make the financial impact less on those that need a little relief, just be sure to renew by the deadline for this benefit Also, the club is looking for a way to combine the processes of renewals, playoffs, and seat designation to make it as easier for Alliance Members. They are looking at a few other things as well, working both with the Alliance Council and others.  As those options get more developed, we’ll be sure to get the details out.

Following our conversation with Mikaela, we discussed the Council’s involvement with Supporter Group Recognition.  Currently, Bylaw 7 of the Alliance discusses how supporter groups are to seek formal recognition from the Alliance Council, which may also remove that recognition.  The discussion tonight was about whether the recognition process is something the Council should do, or if that is more of a role for the front office. Article 6 of the Alliance Constitution discusses the relationship of supporter groups with the club and precludes the Alliance and supporter groups from interfering in each other’s business. Discussions will continue and hopefully a vote on what that bylaw should look like going forward will happen in the next couple of months. For more on supporter group members participating in Council, read the recent blog post by the Alliance Council president Stephanie Steiner.

The Visibility group gave a debrief their activity with Twitter, Facebook, the outreach table at the Sounders game, as well as working with the Sounders front office to get Council blogs published on the SoundersFC.com website.  If you missed it the first one, Democracy in Sports ran this past week.  You can find all articles published about the Alliance Council using their tags at the bottom of articles.  We expect to publish two articles each month by the group, along with the usual Facebook and Twitter activity.  Give us a follow if you haven’t already.

The last business item covered was the GM Vote and Recall.  Discussions are still ongoing around how the GM Vote and Recall should be structured. We continue to work with the Sounders front office to make sure the Alliance voice is heard. We all know Drew Carey wanted there to be a way for the fans to provide feedback on the direction of the club, so we are working to ensure Alliance members have a key role– not just today but forever.

Let us know what you think Council should be talking about and working on for Alliance members.  You can do that in the comment section below or via the social media avenues mentioned in this article.  Until next month…

Categories
2015 Meeting Recaps

Meeting Recap: May 2015

May 7, 2015

By Karl Picard, Alliance Council Member

This is the first in  a series of Alliance Council meeting recaps. For more information about the Alliance Council, click here.

At the May 5th Alliance Council meeting we met with Maya  Mendoza-Exstrom (Sounders FC General Counsel and Executive Director of the Rave Foundation) and Petyr Beck (Publisher at Documentary Media). Maya has been involved with the Sounders since she was a baby going to games, with her father as General Counsel for A-League/USL Sounders, and now she works with the MLS club. She has also played and coached in the area at several levels, really just being part of the soccer fabric around Seattle.

Maya and Petyr are building a book around the history of the Sounders with the proceeds generating funds for the Rave Foundation as it’s first fundraiser. The focus is not your typical history of a sports team but rather around the relationship between the community and fan base that has developed from the 40 plus years of Sounder history. Petyr was actually a roommate of Adrian in college and has been around the Sounder legacy for his whole life.

The book will contain lots of full-page photos depicting Sounders related interactions around the community, not just in the stadium or at games but from bars and events. The book will contain quotes, memories, and a few short essays, but will mainly be driven by the photos. They are looking for the community to help them in this effort by offering pictures and stories; anything that reflects the soccer community and its influence on the Sounders and soccer in the region. The best stuff will likely come from a personal perspective, from being at the stadiums to viewing parties to events. We’ll have more to come on how to share those experiences, but get your photos and stories together.

Maya also talked to us a bit about the Rave Foundation and their efforts around equity and access to the game of soccer. How do they influence urban areas and deliver the game to those who can’t afford the youth leagues in the area, similar to what the NBA has done with basketball. They are looking to build tennis court size fields in neighborhoods and areas of the City that are field deserts or which do not have quality places to play that are open and accessible without having to rent the field.  She also mentioned they are planning small-sided, pick-up street soccer events throughout the City.

The last hour of the Council meeting was dedicated to ongoing business, mostly updates regarding progress about the General Manager Vote conversation with the Club.  The previous week, Stephanie Steiner had met with Taylor Graham to discuss several options we had come up with to manage the GM Vote as well as outline concerns expressed by the Alliance which needed to be addressed in conversation with ownereship.  Taylor took back all of the documents after review and the request and will bring them to Adrian Hanauer.

Additionally, all work groups which were present gave updates regarding their tasks:

SG Work Group:  Mark Nesterhoff, Dan Roe, Brendan Vaughn, and Stephanie Steiner held a conference call to outline questions for the Club.

EOY Business Meeting:  Kristina Vaughn was told its too early to discuss the EOY BM – we disagree.  We only have five more regular council meetings before we are at the EOY Business Meeting.  She will revisit the conversation.