June 2018 Meeting Recap
The meeting began with both of our guests introducing themselves to the group and a quick round robin introduction of the Alliance Council to them as well. Joining us was the lovely Kimberly Aigner, Sounders FC Director of Community Outreach as well as Ashley Fosberg, Executive Director Rave Foundation.
Initial start of their presentation was to break down their roles and what the focus pillars are; LEAD, SERVE and INVEST, and the dynamic between their two respective areas of work:
• Kimberly – LEAD & SERVE
• Ashley – INVEST
Discussed new and exciting ways they are wanting to be more focused on our community with key areas that help drive awareness through the Sounders brand. This is partnering with like-minded companies that also have a community focus that reaches out to their key initiatives in place.
These things range from looking at sustainability and how to start within and partnering with Washington Green Schools, providing education & resources in our community schools to become more sustainable and teaching kids how to conserve resources which is amazing at their outreach already! It’ll be exciting to see what our Sounders do with this knowledge. They also have a few key initiatives coming up throughout the rest of the season, some will require a call of action to fans (yeah!!) such as:
• PRIDE- promote LGBTQ awareness and equality in sports- partnering with Athlete Ally again this year to do some fun stuff such as a Coaches clinic to help focus on the fairness and equality on the pitch, the locker room and teams as a whole to be a more LGBTQ friendly experience.
• Special Olympics- USA Games- they are coming to Seattle!! Lots of volunteer opportunities such as Fans in the Stands, etc. will be an amazing experience connecting people of all abilities to show support and have a really wonderful week here in Seattle. Cristian Roldan and Jordan Morris are Special Olympics Ambassadors this year and signed players to contracts even at an event at the Ninety with Coach Schmetzer was in attendance and could NOT have looked more proud of his new team in the photo released by the club.
• Kick Childhood Cancer- this is an MLS wide initiative however I found it interesting that they say- use yellow nets, yellow flags and that’s it- everything else is up to you how you want to be involved or how much you want to bring awareness, which is wonderful because the clubs can do it in their own way. How do the Sounders do that you may ask!? Great question, so far the Sounders have had extensive involvement historically with raising funds and awareness for Childhood Cancer, they currently have a Honorary Team Captain that walks out with the team- gets a shout out and a quick background on why they there on the big screen- this is a child who is either currently or has battled cancer- some TOUGH KIDS which is perfect for them to be with our boys, we are all TK’s. There will be another blood drive in September, last year they did Out for Blood w Zach Scott- this year- he has already racked to the club to be involved so that’ll be no doubt amazing! September 4th they will have blood drives even outside of the Seattle area working with 4 locations of Bloodworks NW. The date of our match for this will be 9/29 to celebrate Kick Childhood Cancer.
Working to create a culture of service such as Give Big, which sadly will not be continuing this coming year so the club is working on figuring out how to do something on their own working closely with our players passions. There will be a call to action of the fans on this- a wonderful opportunity to either donate and / or potentially volunteer!!!
Opportunities for Involvement- Events will be things each month throughout the season-
• Seattle Pride Parade
• Community MVP (Laura Clise was last years pick)
• Fan in the Stands, 2018 USA Games
• Rave Match Celebration
• fun stuff to kids w Cancer- club to announce what that entails
• Blood Drive in the Ninety
• Day of Caring
• Rave Green Run (which the Rave Foundation now runs, and will be in Tukwila!!)
• Blood donation opportunities all month long
• WA Green Schools Service Project- TBD
• Rave soccer ball giveaway events- TBD
November / December
• holiday gift drive for Rave Community School
Strengthening our community by and through the use of soccer.
Got a wonderful update on Yesler Field free play space that will be officially completed in August, ribbon cutting event to be held on September 7th. Other fun and interesting things Rave is doing our communities is:
• Futsal courts- and easy, quick, high impact way to turn a dead play space into something awesome kids can use! Currently have one in Beverly Park and are looking at new areas to convert.
• Rave octagons- pop-up free play spaces, currently have two octagons- always looking for community sponsors to invest in Rave- reach out to Ashley.
• Sports Media Institute kicked off last year- they are actively working on that again
• Sports Science- working with curriculum that meets WA State School curriculum requirements to help teach students STEM Science/ Algebra through soccer (wish I had that in school)!!!
• Strikes with Sounders
• Rave Green Run
• 50/50 Raffle- don’t forget that’s at each match and is $2.00 per ticket!!
• Rave Green Fields- creating green, free play pitches in communities of need throughout the Puget Sound area- this is a lengthier process so other opportunities to help promote strength in soccer are in place- One Ball, the octagons, etc.
Corporate sponsorships, donations are always welcome!!
These ladies are a small, yet mighty team of four—- yes FOUR! They are both heading departments and areas in our communities that do amazing things that our club is passionate about- so back them, support and shout it from rooftops what great things our club is doing, it’s pretty great!
Next up- Alliance Council recap-
• scarf vote- got news and finalized dates for how our scarf vote will go this year which will be 7/19 with the winner being announced on 9/19
• GM vote- 40% of the Alliance members votes need to be done for us to meet quorum and have our votes be valid!! Which means a LOT of people need to actually vote! Any action to be taken needs 66.6% is required for it to be a super majority if we don’t need meet quorum or 66.6% no action is taken.
• 10 Year anniversary- Roberta- no update
• Away travel- Alex- no update
• Community Involvement -Darla- lots of volunteer opportunities that would align w clubs pillars, will send those out but if anyone has a passion they’d like to share- let me know!!
• Food / Beverage- Alex- asked all of us to take a few photos of food eaten at stadium and write a few sentences about it- share w him
• Jerseys- Cameron- met w FO, saw 2 potential 2020 jersey mockups gave feedback- club appeared more welcome for the feedback (yeah!)
• Matchday Experience- Paul- nothing to report- will re-engage with the group
• Outreach & visibility- will be organizing ideas, gathering input from AC to create overarching goals to connect throughout the season
• Sitting vs Standing- Lisa- corresponded w FO regarding potential outreach by club on how to start that conversation w fans in the stands….. this has been a long, long conversation and the data the AC has supports that even a end of year question is a start!!
• Youth Outreach- Todd- talked w Ashley and will be getting a meeting in place w her and Taylor to go over ideas. Molly talked w Reign FC for potential ideas and they might be interested in partnering w the AC to do something
• Meeting summaries- need volunteers!!
7 June 2018
By Martin Buckley
In late May Alliance Council requested a meeting with Adrian Hanauer and Garth Lagerwey to represent the angst from our fellow Alliance members and to question, listen, learn and be informed.
Our goal was to meet and build our own personal thoughts on where our beloved Sounders were headed – and whether Garth was the right person for the GM role. As an informed Alliance Council – we can then talk to our fellow fans and give as much detail as possible about our personal thoughts. Read the much more emotional and less data loaded recap here.
The data drove the questions that we asked of Adrian and Garth.
- We are used to winning. Does the club believe in winning trophies of all kinds?
- Goals win games. How does the club plan to bring firepower to score goals?
- We hear stories about talent not getting signed or retained. Is there a systemic issue regarding player acquisition?
- 2018 seems like we are cursed with injuries. Why is this?
From my view in the stadium – it’s been a horrible year as a fan. Injuries, losses, Open Cup woes. If you read Twitter, Facebook, Reddit or delve into the comments on Sounder At Heart – one could immerse oneself in the collective grief and misery of the fan base. Anecdotes however, do not make for a productive meeting – so I spent a good amount of time pulling stats from MLS and seeing for myself “how bad it really is”. Was the sky falling?
If you don’t like data – look away now.
A note on the data – I used the raw information from MLS – https://www.mlssoccer.com/stats – and a whole lot of Excel and PowerBI to make some observations. It’s not Opta, it’s not professional, there may be errors. Apologies if you find something. (If Opta want to send me a subscription – I’d be happy).
First off I took the range of 2014 – 2018 for data. 2014 was a standout year – for goals, points and bringing home some silver. The key metrics I captured included: goals, shots on goal, assists, game outcome, role of scorers. Here is the data:
So a few observations as a fan:
- 2014 really was an exceptional year across all metrics.
- 2015-2017 saw a trend of improvement across all metrics.
- Goals scored and shots on goal from forwards decreased – midfield picked up a lot of the slack.
- 2018 – at 11 games into a 34 game schedule – looks pretty grim.
Looking at the top scorers who are forwards for each season (over 8 goals/season):
- 2014: Oba, Clint, Barrett: 39 goals (of 42 from forwards, 64 total)
- 2015: Oba, Clint: 25 goals (of 31 goals from forwards, 44 total)
- 2016: Jordan, Clint: 20 goals (of 20 goals from forwards, 43 total)
- 2017: Clint, Bruin: 23 goals (of 26 goals from forwards, 51 total)
Make your own conclusions about 2014 to 2017. I see a team that is doing “the right thing” – with goals being scored. I am sure there are more nuanced conversations using specific player data per game.
2018 continues to stand out with a lack of goals. I don’t think the data needs calling out – we have supported through this for 11 games.
The final data looked at the cumulative points over the 34 game season.
The bad: a linear trend leaves us with 32 points. Urg.
The good: as we recover from injuries, hopefully make some signings – it gets better.
If we have a final 23 games like the final 23 games of 2017 (regular season, not the playoffs) we close with 51 points. That’s playoffs.
June 7, 2018
By Stephanie Steiner
Council’s role in this meeting is to determine whether or not we have confidence in the plan in place: Does it make sense? Is the General Manager making good choices with the information at hand at the time? Hindsight makes us all brilliant, but that isn’t reality.
While Council President Martin Buckley took the role of Brain(iac), my role in this meeting was more in line with representing the emotions of the fan base: our disappointment, unmet expectations, and what should be done to reach the Alliance Members frustrated by our current situation. Also: when you see the data presentations that Martin brings to the meetings – I’m not going to compete with that. I’d rather lead a naked army across a cracking icy lake. He excels at data and you can read his post here.
We walked through injuries (compared to years past and data from other teams), injury timing, and recovery data. Essentially, and if you’ve been in these conversations with any of us or Adrian or Garth before you know this one already: your best players need to be on the pitch making contributions to the game. Everything boils down to that. Super-short off seasons, especially two years in a row, take their toll on players. One month off and coming right back to training for CONCACAF is brutal: players are not machines. Toronto FC is in a similar situation. There are some who might say ‘well you should have known that and rotated out your players,’ but really? This is me talking now, not them: how much tolerance would we have for a Club that whacks 15 players annually to always have players at 23-26 years of age? We love loving our lads and it takes time to build relationships. Players need time to mature and develop skill sets: and they learn them from established veterans. Locker room dynamic needs to be respected. Bonding among our men is important for all of them to trust each other and be a real team not just a product on the field. So even though I don’t know as much as most of you, I don’t care for this idea. Also: our young lads get hurt too.
We talked at considerable length about our goal scoring average, which led us into a conversation about player acquisitions: There is a plan with multiple layers. When the primary target’s contract is inked, they will announce (pending all of the normal stuff) because they love us and they want us to be happy. The primary target’s identity was not revealed; however, they did say that the current rumor fits the type of player, position, and style that they’d seek. Everything else after that is dependent on that outcome – if that player is a yes: then it’s a different set of players to pursue based on that player coming aboard. If that contract should happen to not go through, then obviously that position still needs to be filled and then other complimentary positions also need to be filled. Garth apologized for texting during the meeting as “we’re working a deal right now.” (Erp, no problemo).
Regarding acquisitions during off-season: it was definitely an objective to bring someone in during January. Negotiations were completed and things fell apart at the very end because: reasons. Council was informed of the reasons at our first update with Garth (March 2018), but we agreed to keep that confidence (GAH! *[email protected]@!!*). This is where the Club drives me nutty. Yes, I know that the Club does not want to ever have the reputation for throwing anyone under the bus. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise, because at that time we had Clint, Jordan, Nico, and Will all firepower up front – we didn’t yet know we’d need so much help up top: that’s not the position this person would have filled. Turns out , it’s a huge impact when your firepower isn’t on the pitch together (injuries, suspensions, call-ups, etc.). If that signing had gone through, money would have been tied up – now, it’s available to pursue what is the remedies for what ails us now.
The lack of storytelling this season is frustrating: Garth and Adrian haven’t told us all what’s up. Council has gotten a little more than the rest of Sounderland – or maybe we got some of it earlier than you all. Their philosophy has been that since they just can’t tell everyone enough, it’s better to be quiet. We disagree with that: don’t break the rules, but we want them to talk about what they can talk about. Also please do it in multiple formats so that the information gets into the community. Garth does a radio show every week. If you’ve listened, you know that teams don’t give up their good players when they’re still in their season. During that time, there are plenty of lousy players available, but not good ones (hence: no replacement for JMo). Sounders: Garth said it on the radio and to the Times. <heavy sigh> Let’s find a way to take that snippet and put out into Sounders’ own social media. As a matter of fact, why aren’t all of Garth’s KJR radio interviews broken out into Q&A and then put into links afterward and out into Sounders’ own social media? This is a super important year with some presently crap circumstances: don’t talk less, talk more. The Sounders have staff and have the ability to hire out: get more stories into multiple formats and put them out into the ether.
I think we might have had an impact here – you deserve more information about what’s going on in a lot of areas: the Academy players are doing amazingly well – let’s learn more about that and celebrate the accomplishments. We have a new High Performance Director, Damien Roden – really, that’s his title. I want to learn about his story and how I can get a cool title like that. Hendy is great on Twitter with his pictures, and a “Where in the World is Hendy” could have been a fun social campaign and bright spot that brought us closer. Of all years, this has year felt like they are distant from us – like they’ve created this monk-like commitment to modesty because of the GM Vote. The impact is that we’re left feeling shut out of things that would have made a big difference, especially in this losing season but any season really. Some of this might get though, but by the time any of the impact can reach you, so will the trade window: so maybe by August we won’t even notice because we’ll be scoring so many goals.
I’ll leave you with this, one more modified Awkward Yeti cartoon. We have many reasons to envision a bright future*:
*pending results of physical examinations and Visa approval, naturally. Bwahahahaha.
Alliance Council Meeting May 2018
First portion of the meeting was from Todd Albright, Director of Marketing and Gameday Presentation. Todd is a good dude, we like him a lot. He has a great job: we’re envious. Normally he comes in and presents with Kyle Sheldon, but that guy quit to go make Oscar-worthy movies (like who would choose that?!). Todd showed us some of the marketing stuff that Kyle (that quitter!) created before he skipped town, and then we moved into Todd’s area of focus. He presented the cool website that they created for the 100th meetup between Sounders and the team to the south: lots of imagery for the less-geeky in the fanbase, video for the geekier, and then lots to read for the uber-geeks. Nick Biela wanted to know if the url would be soundersfc.com/100matches/forc . hahahahaha I said he’d just outed himself as the uber geeky ( I hope that is indeed the url!).
We got details on our new anthem singer, Johnathan Wright (we love him) and how he was discovered.
Todd is working on a project to deck out the tunnel and then bring TV cameras into the tunnel for the walk-out onto the pitch. Some of the sexy details might change seasonally or for big rivalries (remember The Wall for the 40th Anniversary? Something big like that but flexible and built to create hype for our guys and let our opponents know they’re dirt. Maybe we can auction off the ability to type in messages and I can let Giovinco know how I really feel about his whiny antics? No? Well it was a good idea: RAVE Foundation would have made a killing.
Remainder of the meeting: We finalized the revision to Bylaw 10 , elected Jeff Williams to replace Karl Picard (now Ex-Officio) as our at-large member on the Executive Committee, and work group leaders gave updates.
Alliance Council Meeting April 2018
April meeting started with a presentation from First and Goal Hospitality leadership: Executive Chef Michael Johnson, Sous Chef Reid Henderson, and Hospitality Director Abby Hetterich. Also joining us was my representative, Sounders Suite Manager Emily Schultz (aka Shultzy). Not sure we should trust skinny chefs, but it’s hard not to when they put out really good chewy fresh pretzels as bait. Did I mention beery cheese sauce? You might have learned something about me by this sentence – I’m easily led astray. (a word from our sponsor: you should consider running for council now J nominate yourself here . Yes, we do much more than eat, but you already know that.)
Besides all of the snarfalicious distractions, it was a good meeting. Canned rose! DING DING DING: and it will be local! Yes: we brought up beer pricing (I do not expect a miracle here. Why? Because there’s a magic point at which it becomes less profitable, and I don’t think they’ve hit it). But I’ll give them credit for listening to all of the concerns: pricing, labeling and adequate descriptions/training regarding vegan and food allergies, and food quality. First and Goal Hospitality leaders are really good and they are working hard to continuously improve. If you have a challenge, look for someone dressed as a chef.
When we first met with them a year ago they were brand new – the entire entity had only existed for a few months (maybe even weeks). They’d created some really lofty sustainability goals regarding food waste, composting, and the creation of a garden to supply the stadium. Here we are a year later and damn if they didn’t hit all of their goals. My biggest disappointment is that no one knows. I got a little pushy (who me? I know you’re surprised) and suggested that start learning to brag a little better on paper napkins, cups, and the like: most of those say CenturyLink Field. Well do we really need to be reminded of where we are?
In addition to sustainability goals, they’ve made many local community connections; they support women and minority-owned businesses, supply grass-fed and hormone-free beef and pork, and the produce is organic and travels fewer than 25 miles. Whew! That was accomplished in a year. Last year, fewer than 20 products were local, now they’re up to about 85 local items and they continue to expand.
Later this year, we’ll see some Frose (froze zay) show up. Don’t know what that is? Oh honey you don’t know what you’re missing!
Our concern for the rise in diabetes was taken seriously. We had asked for better non-caloric beverages: unsweetened tea will be added as an option.
The next portion of the meeting was the first reading of the adjusted Bylaw 10: essentially, partial season ticket memberships and large, commercial ticket brokers will not be able to vote in GM Vote. Due to the degree to which people have a tendency to be checked out, we felt it was best to prevent any risk that this could cause the entire vote to not count. These types of account holders still vote for scarves.
Group leaders gave quick updates to the rest of council, and then we adjourned.
Alliance Council Meeting March 2018
All two hours of our meeting were filled with a very open and thoughtful conversation and team update from General Manger and President of Soccer, Garth Lagerwey. Much of what he discussed is information that we can’t really talk about. We want to… but there’s that pesky little thing called honoring our word.
Some stuff we can tell you because I’m writing this so late:
What about an off-season signing?! Gah!! Yea – well there was going to be one, and it fell through for really good reasons. We agreed not to talk about this while we were in the room, but since I’ve seen Jeremiah Oshan mention it in a Sounder at Heart interview with Garth, I’ll say it. So there, sue me. Lots of discussion about JMo’s injury (Lagerwey was ‘cautiously optimistic’ meaning he didn’t want to watch us sob for the rest of the meeting but we all knew what that meant, confirmed twelve hours later). He was humble and highly aware of the General Manager Vote to Retain/Not.
We talked pretty openly about the decision to leave Alonso unprotected: the deal for Tyler Miller and been prearranged (nothing there that hasn’t been out in the open for a while now). Ty is a player that Lagerwey has lauded for some time so seeing him move up is a source of pride, and we were all sorry to see him go.
What can we expect: active work to land aggressive contributors to our team, however we won’t know about any of it until contracts are signed. Lagerwey hates rumors: they drive up prices and cause deals to go sour. He doesn’t use false rumors to help hide real ones; he doesn’t like rumors, period. Bad for business, but nothing wrong with negotiating with many people at once: just be truthful. Be a good steward, honor your word, and expect the other party to do the same. Hold people accountable if they don’t.
Lagerwey’s thoughts on USMT: was asked about the possibilities for coach – his reply: none of it really matters until USMNT is willing to invest in youth systems that will build a solid program.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL
April 3, 2017 – 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.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL
March 6, 2017 – 7:00 PM – The NINETY
Present (16 of 19): Lisa Angeles, Nick Biesold, Nicholaus Biela, Peter Buck, Cameron Collins, Todd Cowles, Michael Dollard, Alex Eagleton, Darla Langdon, Jerry Neil, Daniel Roe, Stephanie Steiner, Molly Wagner, and Jeff Williams.
Via telephone (2): Roberta King and Karl Picard.
Absent (1): Martin Buckley.
I. Call to order – Stephanie Steiner
II. Roll – Cameron Collins: 16 of 19 Present
III. Work Group Updates: In order to allow Garth to Lagerwey to have as much time as possible, Council agreed to forego work group updates at this Meeting. Instead, work group leaders will update the Council via the email distribution list. Suggested changes to the February minutes should be sent to Council President Martin Buckley and Council Secretary Cameron Collins by the following Friday.
IV. Meeting with Sounders General Manager Garth Lagerwey – Council met with Garth and discussed a myriad of issues from the forthcoming General Manager vote to his vision for the future of the Club.
Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL
February 6, 2018 – 7:00 PM – The NINETY
Present (15 of 19): Lisa Angeles, Nicholaus Biela, Peter Buck, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Todd Cowles, Michael Dollard, Alex Eagleton, Karl Picard, Daniel Roe, Stephanie Steiner, Molly Wagner, and Jeff Williams.
Via telephone (0): None.
Absent (4): Nick Biesold, Darla Langdon, Roberta King, and Jerry Neil.
I. Call to order – Martin Buckley
II. Roll – Cameron Collins: 15 of 19 Present
III. 2017 Operations Summary and Ticketing
Taylor Graham, Vice President of Business Operations
Mikaela Purvis, Director of Membership Engagement and Retention
James Milgate, Senior Application Developer
A. 2017 Sounders Operations Summary – Taylor Graham
→ The Sounders will continue to work at getting international soccer matches in Seattle. Council President Martin Buckley raised the concern that there were complaints from the public about scheduling and pricing. This is driven by the organizations involved with the events. Sounders will continue to work with them to try and get them to set the prices within the range to which Seattle market is accustomed.
→ Security Experts at CenturyLink lead the move towards stronger security. Sounders have the highest security standards across MLS.
→ There were eight matches on the same days as the Mariners in 2017. The FO worked to strengthen the relationship with Mariners and offer double headers. There are seven such matches in 2018 and the FO will continue to work with the Mariners and will collaborate on time changes when necessary.
→ The Sounders play in one of the greenest stadiums in the world. 97% waste diversion, all food service and vessels are compostable, they use paper-based ocean biodegradable straws, 25% of energy used is created on site through solar panels, they use 24% less energy because of LED and automatic lighting, and 1.3 million gallons of water are saved via low flow fixtures.
→ The Sounders continued their relationship with the Boys and Girls Club through the use of their Youth Force program, which is a teen employment program. → People enter through a variety of gates, but the Northwest gate is the most popular. NW (29%), South (22%), SW (16%), NE (12%), N (1%), Club (4%), NW VIP (3%), SW VIP (3%), and Suites (1%). The average peak wait time to enter the match is seven minutes.
→ Working with ECS, they will go away from the wrist bands for GA in the upcoming year.
→ The LED Board system will be replaced around April. The technology is outdated, making it cost prohibitive to maintain the old system.
→ In 2018, there will be far more weekend matches. There is a significant jump in Saturday day and evening matches compared to 2017.
→VAR: There were zero times where the technology did not work in the stadium in 2017. They cannot show the replays during VAR in the stadium because of FIFA rules. Replays cannot be shown until play has restarted.
B. Sounders Ticketing, SeatGeek, and Sounders App – Mikaela Purvis & James Milgate
→ Tickets are launching this week so there is more time prior to the season to work with the new system. There are not a lot of changes from the fan perspective, but the biggest changes are ease of use for the fan.
→ For security reasons, Sounders couldn’t transfer passwords and credit card information from Ticketmaster to SeatGeek, which is why season ticket holders had to do it themselves. It was the only process that wasn’t mobile friendly because of set up, but everything will be mobile friendly from now on. There is a small percentage of accounts who have not done this yet and have missed payments. Sounders are tracking them down.
→ Some of the new benefits with SeatGeek include: Pre-sale for single match tickets with a discount and no fees for Alliance Members, you can transfer individual match tickets to friends and they can pay you through the SeatGeek system via Venmo, option to donload tickets as PDFs, no seven date print limitation, and SeatGeek has a dedicated customer service teams for Sounders fans.
→ 900 seats opted out of scarves. Because of this initiative, spearheaded by former Council member Angelica Peck, 6000 balls were donated between this opt out and Delta providing matching dollars. → There are no Supporter Group logos on tickets this year.
→ Ticket packages get put in the mail Wednesday. App goes live Thursday.
IV. Alliance Council Projects Updates
10 Year Anniversary of the Alliance: A skeleton outline of content has been made. Council will be working with the FO to make it a joint project. This will allow for more high-quality content. Molly will be interviewing the three Presidents of the Alliance Council. We still need people to write for the project.
Away Travel: The group is working on the framework for what it will looks like and setting the goals. Discussion on Ticket allocation, so they will meet with FO to discuss the process. Main goal is to make sure that fans who are season ticket holders who are not part of an Supporter Groups will have an opportunity to travel.
Community Involvement: Darla is working on what it will look and has spoken with Ashley Fosberg, Executive Director of the RAVE Foundation. She is currently working on the setting a greater scope that previous involvement. Todd & Molly are joining the group.
Food & Beverage: GFC and Eastside have the same beers. ECS have a new beer. They will all be available in the stadium. Discussion followed on affordability and vegan/vegetarian options. Cpuncil will try to do a meeting with concessions before a match so that we can sample the average stadium fare.
GM Vote: Council is working with the Front Office on visibility. Look at minutes to put more info in to her. The group will be looking into the available voting mechanisms and the timeline necessary to effect October voting. The goal is a high turnout and visibility through local and national press.
Jerseys: In May or June Council will start work on the /2020 jersey with FO. We will continue the conversation on our involvement with the 2019 jersey, which is being finalized now. The new 2018 first kit includes a nod to the Alliance, with both a jocktag that celebrates the Ten Years of the Alliance and a neckhit that has the phrase “YOU WILL HEAR US.” It goes on sale on the 10th.
Matchday Experience: The group currently needs a leader. Peter is stepping up to lead the group.
Outreach/Visibility: The group has begin the conversation on what we are going to target for the coming season. There will be a larger update at the next meeting.
S2: All of the S2 operation have gone to the Seattle Rainiers, and all the fan experience type issues are going to Sounders Community Trust (SCT). Darla will work with Kyle from SCT to see what Council involvement will be.
Scarf Vote: It typically takes place at the end of the Fall. The process of how it runs has been developed for a strong vote to happen this season.
Sitting vs Standing: No updates. The group will need somebody diplomatic to deal with the issue.
Youth Outreach: Todd will lead the group. He has already talked to the Mariners to see what they and Major League Baseball do with the youth. It includes ticket giveaways, working with Seattle Schools, and other activities.
Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.
Alliance Council Meeting 2/6/2018
The first part of our February meeting we had a joint session with Taylor, Mikaela, James to discuss Operations, Ticketing and the move to SeatGeek.
Some key notes from the Operations section were:
- Season attendance average 43,666, hosted non-Sounders games Mexico v Paraguay and the Tournament of Nations.
- Clear bag policy was implemented over the past year, this was a partnership with CenturyLink. Continue to work with security around their standards and their application.
- After addressing the inconstancy with bags at the gate in working with staff, there is a reduction of checked bags at the Sounders official checkpoint based on data. They continue to focus on improving in this area.
- Continue to work with supports to encourage tifos and displays.
- There were multiple 48-hour conversions for the stadium from soccer to football (or vice versa).
- 8 doubleheaders with Mariners, the team continues working to build the relationship between the organizations and to reduce the congestion with the partnership (7 will occur this year).
- Multiple new presentation elements for match presentations and fan engagements, working to raise the standards
- We play in one of the greenest stadiums in the world, with 97% waste diversion rate, they generate their own solar power to offset, reduce water consumption with low-flow, and automatic lighting reduces the energy usage.
- Sounders have a partnership with Youth Force to supply game day support staff.
- Gate wait time peaks over the season were at most an average of 7 min. This is a balance between resourcing and not overdoing that expense. This data point was across all games and times including full stadium games.
- Sounders will be updating them on the field LED system as they are 9 years old. This is to reduce the maintenance and repair costs.
- Reduction of weekday games and Sunday games and increase in Sat games while working to build consistency on kickoff timing.
Next up was the discussion around ticketing. The SeatGeek transition was completed in a very short offseason. Tickets will launch the first full week of Feb to allow fans to experiment more before the season (3 weeks before the first home game). The main change to fans is the account manager (managing of tickets and selling them) is now powered by SeatGeek. You need to link your account to be able to resell, forward, print tickets, renew seats, reserve playoffs, and take advantage of presales and additional soccer events. Basically, linking your account sets up your account manager. There is an insert coming with the Season Ticket packages to outline some of the actions and benefits. You can now use Venmo to get payments for selling tickets. The workflows to manage tickets will be more logical and save clicks to do things like print tickets. SeatGeek no longer has the 7-day restriction of printing tickets like last year, just keep track of what you are printing to prevent any gate issues with duplicates. The mobile app also saves clicks and has Single Sign-On functionality and integration between managing tickets and accounts. Instructional videos will be coming to help with the transition. You will need to re-designate tickets again this year for your account. Designation give the access to the season pass but not to be able to manage the ticket (like selling)
New up was AC Projects for 2018
After a quick break, we moved into Alliance Council projects. We have 12 projects with multiple people on each project. Expectations are for the groups to address moving the projects forward outside of the meeting and report back to the group.
- 10 year anniversary is working on their content, they have a framework on the content and are working with the FO on collaboration. The goal is to get 15 posts.
- Away travel team is working on the framework for goals and what they plan to accomplish on tagging away games for general fan allocation. We want to be careful with not impacting supporter’s groups while working to help general fans can have access.
- Working with RAVE and others to see what we can do to impact Community involvement. Todd and Molly joined the group to support Darla.
- Food and Beverage have been working to have supporter group beers in the stadium, they should be covered for the upcoming season and available. There should also be some new packages for the upcoming season. Will continue to work with the FO to provide feedback. One of the issues is that the Sounders don’t own the venue and there are challenges there. The group is going to work to come with some data and research to help the cause.
- GM vote group meet at the end of last month. They are working to improve marketing, maybe leveraging radio options. This will be the first vote for Garth and the 2nd for the club. We want to ensure we have a decent voter turnout. Voting will be in October timeframe
- Jersey group is working with front office and working to set up the timing and meetings. We want to continue to expand our impact on what we can do with the FO for the jerseys.
- Matchday experience currently doesn’t have a leader and there wasn’t much movement due to that. Peter volunteered for the group leader.
- S2 and the Alliance, much of this is going through the Rainers and Community Trust. We’ll work to support this effort and work with the contacts we have.
- Scarf vote effort will kick off in late summer or fall
- Visibility and Outreach is working to identify priorities for the season
- Sitting vs Standing still without a leader. Resources have been out for a bit.
- Youth Outreach will now be led by Todd. Looking into how to get youth programs to take advantage of open seats. Getting input from how the Mariners do stuff to support youth tickets. Group to set up what they want to focus on and identify a front office resource.
That’s all for now, see you next month with another meeting recap.