Alliance Council Executive – comments on Sounders FC and CenturyLink Field statement

12 September 2017

By Martin Buckley and Stephanie Steiner

Alliance Council have been working directly with the Sounders FC around the entire fan experience since before the first game of the season.

The multiple changes for entry to CenturyLink Field, the move to clear bags and limits on sizes of purses have presented many challenges. We continue to present our experiences and concerns to the Club – and encourage all fans to report issues as they occur. Please stay in touch with your ticket representatives and provide details of any concerns or issues (time, gate, person’s name if possible).

We are fans too. We enter the stadium through the same gates and experience the same security teams. During the season we have seen a repeated lack of consistency in the application of gate policy. As stewards of the fan experience we have collected this repeatedly and brought it to the Club.

This past weekend many of our fans reported a range of unsatisfactory experiences. Yes we listened, yes we flagged these immediately post game with our Front  Office representatives.

As fans we won’t see the inner workings of the Club. This is similar to an iceberg. We see the ten percent above the waterline.

The joint statement from the Sounders FC and CenturyLink Field is much like this. Weas fans, as Alliance Council – are not privy to the internal conversations and activities of the Club. I can imagine there were meetings across different groups – and these are likely sensitive.

What we do know is that the Club is listening to us all – Alliance Council, Supporter Groups, and every individual fan who provides feedback. We expect our Club to always celebrate and support the diversity of the fans and our broader community.

What we expect from our Club and the stadium at this time is inclusive, welcoming and consistent treatment for every fan. At the gates. Inside the stadium. Every time.

Alliance Constitution Vote – Thank You!

25 July 2017

By Martin Buckley

Last week we closed Alliance wide voting for the ratification or approval of the updated Alliance Constitution.

We are proud and happy to announce that the Constitution was overwhelmingly approved by all who voted. Thank you! This means that that 2017 Constitution and Bylaws now provide the structure and governance for the Alliance and Alliance Council.

Results:

 Individual UsersWeighted vote
YES97%96%
NO3%4%

It is worth a few notes to discuss these results.

Firstly – turnout was relatively low. We expected this. Although we all love Democracy in Sports – Constitution ratification is a decidedly un-glamourous activity. We certainly expect a lot more Alliance engagement for something as significant as a General Manager Vote. The weighted vote is fully covered here – effectively one seat/ticket – one vote.

Secondly – this vote was our dry-run for the General Manager Vote which is due during 2018. We worked closely with the Club on timing, communication, email, in-ground messaging and the voting platform. We learned a lot. We will continue to refine how we (as Alliance Council) communicate with the Alliance as a whole. We found that more of you engaged through Social Media than through the email from the club. In addition we still have work to do around Alliance awareness amongst newer Season Ticket Holders.

Finally – thank you to the team that helped make this vote happen. To the representatives of the Club who worked on communication, voting platform, in-stadium visibility and more. To the Alliance Council members who advocated for this vote with friends, fellow section members and at the Eintracht Frankfurt friendly. Most of all to you. All of the Alliance Members who voted to support this.

Annual Business Meeting 2017 – an update

21 July 2017

By Stephanie Steiner and Martin Buckley

Annual Business Meeting 2017 – an update

To be clear – the Alliance Annual Business Meeting will be held.

It will be after the close of the regular season and is planned to be held in The NINETY.

The event will be live streamed.

We recognize that the Annual Business Meeting is important, yet at the same time it’s also not terribly convenient for many fans. Location, timing, traffic, weather – all conspire against us.

Early this year we began working with the the Club to make the Annual Business Meeting more accessible. That means reaching out to more people, making it easier for the average fan, and yes reduce the expense of a large production. We coordinated with the Club to meet these goals.

To be clear – the Alliance Annual Business Meeting will be held. It will be after the close of the regular season and is planned to be held in The NINETY. The event will be live streamed.

Also as part of these conversations, we closely examined the degree to which people were embracing Sounders’ streamed events. One eye-opening example of the reach of streamed events are S2 games and even the streamed draft for the Zach Scott Testimonial Game.

The NINETY has a limited capacity. Once Front Office, coaching staff, Alliance Council and representatives from Supporter Groups are present, there is even less space for Alliance Members. We plan to hold a lottery for Alliance Members to be at The NINETY for the event.

We then worked with the club on creating something FOR the Alliance as a whole. This resulted in the 13 August 2017 Season Ticket Member Event – for all Alliance Members – a real benefit to you all. Fans, players, behind the scenes – and at a time when we can all enjoy the Seattle summer.

Looking back – the Alliance Annual Business Meeting attracts pretty much the same 700 people. We have gained almost nothing in attendance. When people knew Schmetz would be promoted, we got up to 1200, but we can’t promote him every year. There were huge investments into player interaction, big lures with photo ops – none of these grew awareness. People don’t want to come out on a rainy November night.

We represent all Alliance Members – we have a duty to consider any and all ways to reach out to those that are unable to attend that in-person event. Technology can be the enabler for this.

Our other commitment to you is to review this change. If it does not work – we will change.

As always – thank you for reading and for your support.

Press Release – Democracy in Sports in Action

“Democracy in Sports in action”

6 July 2017 – Seattle, Washington. The Seattle Sounders FC Alliance Council today announced an Alliance Wide Vote to ratify an updated Alliance Constitution – demonstrating once again a joint commitment with Seattle Sounders FC to fully embrace Democracy in Sports.

One major addition to the Alliance Constitution sets out the processes and procedures for an Alliance wide Vote of Confidence or a Recall Vote for the Sounders FC General Manager. Seattle Sounders fans have a unique role in US sports in being able to give a Vote of Confidence in their General Manager every four years.

“We are proud that every fan has had a voice through the Alliance since the very beginning of the club,” said Seattle Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer, “The Alliance participation in a general manager vote is unique to the Seattle Sounders and represents Democracy in Sports in action.”

“Getting to this point is a milestone,” said Stephanie Steiner, Alliance Council President, “working with the club over many months to build this framework means that Sounders fans will be able to express their voice for many years ahead.”

Seattle Sounders FC season ticket holders are automatically members of the Alliance and can find more details on this vote at http://ssfcalliancecouncil.com/ratify17

The Seattle Sounders FC Alliance was established in 2008 to deliver on the promise of minority owner Drew Carey to involve fans in the decision-making process of the team. A key tenet of Democracy in Sports is The Alliance giving a voice to fans on matters that impact fan experience. The Alliance Council is the executive and decision making body for The Alliance, members are elected by fans themselves.


Press contacts:

Stephanie Steiner – President, Seattle Sounders FC Alliance Council
[email protected]
@ssfcalliancecouncil.com
http://ssfcalliancecouncil.com

Martin Buckley – Vice President, Seattle Sounders FC Alliance Council
[email protected]
[email protected]
@ssfcalliancecouncil.com
http://ssfcalliancecouncil.com

 

Constitution Chchchanges

By Stephanie Steiner

Ch ch changes… I hope you’re old enough to remember and respect David Bowie.  If not, search for the great one on your phone.

Yes indeed, we have changed the Constitution of the Seattle Sounders Alliance. Tons of changes in fact – most of them are of no consequence. But some of the additions are important to keep us relevant, so that’s why we did it.  <- you can stop reading now, that’s the answer.  If you want more detail, keep going.

More? OK, here goes: The first Constitution was ratified in 2011, and written primarily in 2010.  That’s a long time ago and it was a ton of work.  There’s no way for any of those hard-working people to predict everything necessary in perpetuity. Situations change, and the needs of the Alliance change.

For instance: in 2015, Adrian Hanauer hired a new General Manager: Garth Lagerwey. Our Charter didn’t have language to accommodate a General Manager joining the Club outside of the four-year vote of confidence cycle.  Adrian generously invited the Alliance Council to converse and propose language regarding the vote cycle. In this conversation, we also determined that there was no written language for General Manager Recall procedures, only assumptions.  Additionally, neither of these events existed in the Constitution; GM Vote was only in the Charter.  That alone was a big enough reason to update the Constitution.  Second, was the addition of a new article which created the Executive Committee: a body that could act as a steering committee of the Alliance Council.

Since two major pieces needed to be added to the Constitution, we decided to comb through it in its entirety and look for anything and everything that needed to be updated: where was it verbose? Where was it confusing? Where could we make solid improvements for the Alliance? We clarified ambiguous dates, added some parameters, and cleaned up spelling and grammatical errors.

The Constitution is for us: the members of the Seattle Sounders FC Alliance. This was a cumbersome clean-up task, but the hard work is done on the Constitution. In the future, you’ll see a new article here or there every two years or so – you shouldn’t see huge updates like this again.  But it is a document that will change again as circumstances change and necessitate adjustments in the future. It is the embodiment of our voices channeled together as one: speaking for the betterment of our Club.

Read more herevote here.

Go Sounders!

2017 Constitution – Frequently Asked Questions

5 July 2017

By Martin Buckley

Sounders FC Alliance – Constitution ratification
Frequently Asked Questions
(and their answers)

Q: What is the Alliance?
Q: What is the Alliance Council?
Q: What is the relationship between the Sounders FC, the Alliance and The Alliance Council?

The Sounders FC Alliance (“The Alliance”) was created at the founding of Seattle Sounders FC at the direction of Mr Drew Carey – the First Honorary Chairperson and creator of The Alliance. The Alliance consists of all season ticket members of Sounders FC.

The Alliance is unique in US sports in giving a direct voice to fans about the direction of the Club. The Alliance is a direct embodiment of Democracy in Sports and provides:

  • A vote on the Club’s General Manager approximately every four years
  • The right to advise on the Club’s charitable contributions
  • The right to advise on matters regarding game-day experience
  • The right to advise on matters that primarily affect fan experience

The Alliance Council is the representative body of the Alliance – consisting of members elected from and by the Alliance.

http://ssfcalliancecouncil.com/about-the-alliance-council/

https://www.soundersfc.com/supporters-and-alliance/alliance

Q: What is the Alliance Constitution?
Q: Why does the Constitution need to go out for a vote?
Q: Why did the constitution need updating?
Q: Why did it take so long to update?

The Alliance Constitution and Bylaws determine our processes and procedures. How we vote, officers of the Alliance Council etc.

The original Alliance Constitution was written in 2010 and ratified in an Alliance wide vote in 2011. The Alliance and Alliance Council have been using that document for six years.

As the Alliance and Alliance Council have matured and grown – modifications and changes have been made to reflect this. Clarifications and improved language have helped make the Constitution easier to use and understand.

There were also two major additions to the Constitution. Firstly a description of the creation and role of the Alliance Council Executive Committee. Secondly – and of importance to all Alliance Members – a detailed description of the processes and procedures for the GM Vote itself.

This is a comprehensive review and update to the Constitution – it needs to be ratified by the Alliance.

Looking forward the Constitution will continue to evolve to meet the needs of our changing community, Alliance and Club.

Q: What is the GM Vote? GM Vote of Confidence? GM Recall?
Q: Why does the Alliance get a say in this?

There are two areas where the Alliance has a say in the tenure of the Club General Manager.

Firstly – the GM Vote or GM Vote of Confidence.

This is an Alliance wide vote held after a General Manager has been in role for four seasons.

Secondly – the GM Recall Vote.

This is an Alliance wide vote to Recall a General Manager.

The Constitution clearly and carefully defines the time periods, communications and voting requirements for both of these scenarios.

The Alliance holds a unique position in US professional sports in being able to both give a vote of confidence and a method of recall to the Club General Manager. In the words of Mr Drew Carey “I’m very excited about what we’re doing here in Seattle, where else can the fans fire the general manager? I hope this becomes a model for every professional sports organization in America.”

Q: Was this voted on in late 2016?
Q: What is the updated Supporter Group Recognition section?

The Constitution was originally sent out for Alliance ratification in late 2016. We quickly realized that one of the updates (“Supporter Group Recognition”) would potentially have future impact for Supporter Groups when travelling to away games.

This was resolved with a working group consisting of representatives from our four Supporter Groups (Eastside Supporters, Emerald City Supporters, Gorilla FC and North End Faithful).

A full description of this work is at http://ssfcalliancecouncil.com/2017/03/28/supporter-group-recognition-doing-the-right-thing-for-all/

Q: I have a Sounders Season Ticket – can I vote?
Q: What is an Alliance Member?
Q: I have a Season Ticket – how do I vote?
Q: How do votes get counted?
Q: When does voting start and close?

All Sounders FC Season Ticket holders are Alliance Members. Alliance membership is a benefit of being a Season Ticket holder.

Full details on voting is at http://ssfcalliancecouncil.com/ratify17

The secure voting platform is hosted and managed by Sounders FC. All votes are online and tied to Alliance Member profiles. Voting opens on 6 July 2017 and closes 17 July 2017.

Details on the voting process are at: http://ssfcalliancecouncil.com/2017/06/02/voting-for-alliance-council-one-season-ticket-one-vote/ and http://ssfcalliancecouncil.com/2017/06/02/voting-for-alliance-council/