Meeting Minutes: April 2018

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

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.

VII. Adjournment

Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.

Meeting minutes: March 2018

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

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.

V. Adjournment

Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.

Meeting Recap: February 2018

Alliance Council Meeting 2/6/2018 

By: Karl Picard

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.

Meeting Minutes: January 2018

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

January 9, 2017 – 7:00 PM – The NINETY

Present (15 of 19): Lisa Angeles, Nicholaus Biela, Nick Biesold, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Todd Cowles, Michael Dollard, Alex Eagleton, Jesse Kilgore, Gilbert Ko, Darla Langdon, Jerry Neil, Stephanie Steiner, Molly Wagner, and Jeff Williams.

Via telephone (2): Karl Picard and Daniel Roe.

Absent (2): Peter Buck and Roberta King.

I. Call to order – Martin Buckley

II. Roll – Cameron Collins: 15 of 19 Present

III. New Member Introduction
New Council Members Jesse Kilgore and Gilbert Ko introduced themselves to Council and the Council Members present introduced themselves to Gilbert and Jesse. They talked about why they joined Council, what they hope to accomplish, and their relationships with the Sounders.

IV. Alliance Council Collaboration Survey – Martin Buckley
The Council was surveyed as to what the best form of communication is to stay in touch and get work done. The responses showed that the current use of email communication with phone contact for urgent communications was the best way to stay in touch with our members.

V. 2018 Meeting Themes – Martin Buckley
The last two Council years, the first half of each Council meeting consisted of a presentation from the Front Office; the second half we carried out Council business. The calendar for the club presentations is based upon the deadlines within the front office. The topics included Food & Beverage (February), Marketing (March), Corporate Partnerships (April), RAVE Foundation (May), Jerseys (June), and Ticketing (July). Other topics the Council would like to see presentations on moving forward include Security, GM Vote, Seat Geek, and Matchday Presentation.

The Council expressed a great interest in a more robust conversation on “Food & Beverage,” focusing on food quality, meal deals, vegetarian/vegan food, and beverage diversity. Mike Dollard will reach out to the Supporter Groups for information on their beers for the upcoming season.

VI. 2018 Alliance Council Projects – Stephanie Steiner & Martin Buckley

Stephanie Steiner discussed what a Council project is and project management within the Council. Current 2017-18 Projects, and the members involved with each, are:

10 Year Anniversary Martin Molly Nicholaus Stephanie
Away Travel Alex Gilbert
Community Involvement Darla
Food & Beverage Alex Jeff Jerry Karl Michael
GM Vote Alex Darla Jeff Martin Nick Peter
Jerseys Alex Cameron Gilbert Jerry Martin Michael Nicholaus Nick Stephanie
Matchday Experience Alex Karl Lisa Michael Peter
Outreach & Visibility Cameron Jesse Karl Nicholaus
S2 & The Alliance Cameron Darla Jeff Molly
Scarf Vote Cameron Darla Jerry Roberta
Sitting vs. Standing Lisa Roberta
Youth Outreach Daniel Darla Gilbert Molly Nicholaus Peter Todd

VII. Other Business

The Council has until the end of the week to work on Alliance information for the media kit. We also need bios and a photo from new Council Members for our Council website.

VIII. Adjournment

Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.

Meeting Recap: Jan 2018

Jan Meeting Recap

By Karl Picard

The January meeting was on Jan as we moved it a week this month due to it falling just after New Year’s day. We opened the meeting with introductions to new Council members Jesse Kilgore and Gilbert Ko coving why they joined and how they have been involved with the Sounders to date. We have gotten some great new members recently but need more to address all the items we have (see further below). If you are reading this you too can join the Alliance Council and help represent the fans.

Martin gave an update on a survey conducted on how the AC can better communicate and collaborate. The results were emails for collaboration on bigger items like projects and SMS/Text for more urgent items and things that need immediate action. We will still use the Google group for archiving and communications.

The main focus of is around planning with front office topics and then projects for the council for 2018.   A lot of the front office discussions do require us to fall in-line with the front office calendar so we can be sure we can influence this year/next year. Topics we are planning to address:

  • Food was a topic we addressed last year and we had little influence based on our meeting. We want to follow-up on some of the items from last year. Hoping this year will be more focused on the stadium concourse food rather than the suite or higher end items. We want to readdress overall draft beer selection and options for veggie and vegan stadium wide.
  • Marketing was another item we discussed last year. We saw some items but not a full execution there. We plan to cover some game day experience and well as overall experience around the stadium.
  • Want to try to get security in for a discussion around the experience and what the plan is for improving, as well as reporting issues.
  • Rave foundation, we want to get an update from them on what is going on and where the money from the AC donation last year went.
  • Discussed addressing outreach and ticketing as well.

We will work with the front office to determine the schedule for the next several months.

Next up was what items were project and efforts the Alliance Council is going to work on in 2018.

  • 10 years of the Alliance – we are planning to have regular content on this topic and need folks to produce content. Key resources: Martin Buckley, Stephanie Steiner, Roberta King, Molly Wagner, and Nick Biela.
  • GM Vote – vote to retain Garth. We have 2 thresholds we need 40% of the Alliance to vote, a supermajority is required for the action to be binding otherwise the decision is up to the front office. Key resources: Jeff Williams, Nick Biesold and Darla Langdon
  • Sitting vs Standing – can we get designated sections, this keeps coming up
  • Traveling portal to connect fans. Key Resources: Lisa Angeles
  • Youth outreach: Lots of discussion around how to get the next generation involved, possibly through a junior alliance. Need to determine what options exist and do some research. Key Resources: Darla Langdon, Todd Cowles, Nicholaus Biela, Molly Wagner, Dan Roe, and Gilbert Ko
  • S2, is there something we need to get involved with there? We’ll put a request into the Community trust.   Key resources: Darla Langdon
  • Outreach & Visibility around the Alliance Council, driving the brand and ensuring we get information out to the Alliance. Key Resources: Karl Picard, Cameron Collins, Nick Biela, and Jesse Kilgore

Final items we addressed were getting bios and pictures for the new members to update the website.

We have a lot of work ahead in 2018 and the more folks on the Council the more we can get done. If you are interested in joining reach out or just self-nominate and get your 25 votes. We’d love to have you.

Meeting Minutes: December 2017

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

December 5, 2017 – 7:00 PM – The NINETY

Present (15 of 17): Lisa Angeles, Nick Biesold, Peter Buck, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Todd Cowles, Alex Eagleton, Roberta King, Darla Langdon, Jerry Neil, Karl Picard, Daniel Roe, Stephanie Steiner, Molly Wagner, and Jeff Williams.

Via telephone (0): None.

Absent (2): Nicholaus Biela and Michael Dollard

I. Call to order – Stephanie Steiner

II. Roll – Cameron Collins: 15 of 17 Present

III. New Member Introduction
New Council Member Peter Buck introduced himself to Council. He talked to by why he has decided to join Council, what he hopes to accomplish, and his relationship to soccer and the Sounders.

IV. Executive Committee Elections – Stephanie Steiner
A requests was made for volunteers to count the votes. Roberta King, Peter Buck, and Nick Biesold volunteered to do so.

President: Stephanie Steiner and Martin Buckley nominated themselves to run for Alliance Council President. After both candidates gave speeches on why they should be elected President, and the Council was permitted to ask each of them questions, a vote was taken.
Martin Buckley was elected Alliance Council President for the 2017-18 Council Year.

Vice-President: Stephanie Steiner self-nominated to be Council VP and ran without opposition.
Stephanie Steiner becomes Alliance Council President for the 2017-18 Council Year by declaration.

Secretary: Jeff Williams and Cameron Collins nominated themselves to run for Alliance Council Secretary. After both candidates gave speeches on why they should be elected Secretary, and the Council was permitted to ask each of them questions, a vote was taken.
Cameron Collins was elected Alliance Council Secretary for the 2017-18 Council Year.

At-Large Position 1: Molly Wagner, Jeff Williams, Karl Picard, and Todd Cowles nominated themselves to stand for the First At-Large position on the Executive Committee. After all candidates gave speeches on why they should be elected to the Executive Committee, and the Council was permitted to ask each of them questions, a vote was taken.
Todd Cowles was elected as the first At-Large Executive Committee Member for the 2017-18 Council Year.

At-Large Position 2: Molly Wagner, Jeff Williams, and Karl Picard nominated themselves to stand for the Second At-Large position on the Executive Committee. A vote was taken.
Karl Picard was elected as the second At-Large Executive Committee Member for the 2017-18 Council Year.

The 2017-18 Alliance Council Executive Committee is: Martin Buckley, Stephanie Steiner, Cameron Collins, Todd Cowles, and Karl Picard.

V. Annual Business Meeting – Martin Buckley

The decision was made by the Alliance Council and the Front Office to try running the event as a mainly online event, rather than as the traditional large in-person event. The primary goal of the move was to create greater outreach with the event such that more of our constituents, who often cannot make it to a meeting on a rainy, mid-week evening, can participate and engage with the event. This would also allow the meeting to serve its main purpose of being an informative, yet entertaining, business meeting, rather than simply an event to “hype” the club. Such a move also allowed the Club to move some of the money that had previously been allocated to the ABM to the fan appreciation event the Sounders held in the summer.  While the Council knew it was a potentially risky move, the numbers that came out of the event were very solid.

There were 100 people present in the NINETY from the Alliance Member community. The meeting had 27,000 views from 26,000 unique viewers. It had another 1800 views on YouTube. Based upon the numbers, the Meeting reach four to five times as many people as it typically had.

Overall, the feedback was positive, focusing on the quality of the presentation and content and the questions that were asked. There was some concern from those following the event online about the inability to follow up on answers given to questions. Several Council Members expressed hope that in the future we can expand upon the event and hold it somewhere that can hold 300-400 people such that the atmosphere would be more focused on the fan, and would help the energy in the room. It would allow the number of attendees to be greater than the number of media and Front Office members present.

VI. January Meeting

The January Council Meeting is scheduled to be on January 2, 2018. This meeting will be moved to a better date. Typically, Sounders General Manager Garth Lagerwey joins the Council for the January Meeting, so we will work with the Sounders to set a mutually agreeable date.   

VII. Adjournment

Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.