2018 Annual Business Meeting – call for questions

18 October 2018

By Martin Buckley

Alliance Council are reaching out to the broad Seattle Sounders fan base to look for insightful questions that you want to be asked at the Annual Business Meeting.

Representatives from Club Ownership, Front Office, Playing Staff and Alliance Council will be present at the meeting.

Please submit your question below – we will review all of them.

  • Notes:
    Responses will be aggregated and sorted by the Alliance Council. The top representative questions from Alliance Members will be asked at the Annual Business Meeting in November 2018. You may be invited to ask your question in person.
    There is no limit to the number of questions that you submit, however we encourage new and timely questions for the panel.
    Panel members are TBD - but have previously included representatives from Ownership, the Front Office and the Alliance Council.

 

 

 

Meeting Minutes: September 2018

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

September 4, 2018 -7:00PM- The NINETY

Present:

Lisa Angeles, Nicholaus Biela, Nick Biesold, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Alex Eagleton, Roberta King, Darla Langdon, Jerry Neil, Daniel Roe, Stephanie Steiner, Jeff Williams

Absent:

Molly Wagner, Mike Dollard, Gilbert Ko, Jesse Kilgore, Todd Cowles, Peter Buck

I. Call to order: Martin Buckley

II. Roll: Darla Langdon: 12 of 18 present

III. Guest: Alex Roldan

Alex Roldan spent the first part of the meeting with Alliance Council. Council members were able to ask questions and spend time with Alex.

IV. First order of business: Peter Buck Announcement

Martin had been in communication earlier in the day with Peter Buck, it was announced that he would no longer be able to continue with his Alliance Council term.  Unfortunately for us, a change in his work load prohibits him from taking on any additional tasks and commitments- he will be missed.

V.  Second order of business: Celebration of Players

Dan Roe had posted on Facebook floating out the idea or questions of why or what could we do for a players recognition of service to the Club at their retirement or in honor of them, similar to Seahawks “Ring of Honor”, lots of input was given, ideas were being thrown around including:

  • Where
  • Who
  • Potential requirement of contribution to Club
  • Golden Scarves
  • Timeline (include FO/ownership Sounders)

Committee was formed and will get ideas/ suggestions on paper and come back to October meeting to present/ discuss as a group further.

Committee will be comprised of: Daniel Roe, Alex Eagleton, Nicholaus Biela, Molly Wagner and Nick Biesold, Jerry Neil

VI. Third order of business: 10 Years of the Alliance/Participation

Martin Buckley started off discussing at our last meeting how each Alliance member present stated that they were excited and committed to putting in the work for the celebration of the 10 Years of the Alliance.  To date, he knew only five people had logged on and / or contributed.

This brought up the conversation that has been had in the past- it’s fun to get the fun stuff- the surprise player visits, the meetings with ownership, the inside scoop and unprecedented access to the Club for our opinions, concerns and feedback.  None of this however can happen if we don’t continue to put in the work and make a conscience effort to make it mean something.  Do the people that take meeting minutes, volunteer for special projects, work the events, take on additional tasks get what the people who show up the first Tuesday of every month and do the bare minimum?  Do we start doing a “frequent flyer” type of recognition for those that go above and beyond the minimum so when it comes down to special events or access to the Club those get picked first?

There were a few comments about having access to the Teams site – Martin stated that he’d help those that need to have access but reminded us all that we need to commit to The Alliance otherwise the “why’s” we came up with last meeting mean nothing.

VII. Motion to adjourn meeting and seconded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting Minutes: August 2018

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

August 7, 2018 – 7:00 PM – The NINETY

Present: (12 of 18 present)
Nicholaus Biela, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Todd Cowles, Mike Dollard, Alex Eagleton, Jesse Kilgore, Gilbert Ko, Darla Langdon, Dan Roe, Stephanie Steiner, Jeff Williams

Absent:
Lisa Angeles, Peter Buck, Nick Biesold, Roberta King, Jerry Neil, Molly Wagner

Phone: none

I. Call to order – Martin Buckley

II. Roll – Cameron Collins

III.  Council Working Session:

a. Council Structure

President Martin Buckley opened the conversation by asking members how we see Council as the Alliance grows in numbers:  50,000 members?  60,000? Close to 70,000?

Open dialog regarding future structure:

  • Nicholaus Biela: doing the math, brings up that Council Members presently represent about 1500 Alliance Members. He is interested in new ways to reach Alliance Members: digital town halls, AMAs (ask me anything), etc.  Give people opportunities for communication with Council Members.  Jesse Kilgore: what about a quarterly newsletter pushed out by the Club?
  • Suggestion: what about the originally suggested format of the current Council plus the ‘one mayor per seating section’ that meets quarterly?  Cameron expresses concern that the Council could become too elite.

Council Structure Group: Martin, Todd, Nicholaus

b. Workload

President Martin Buckley moves to the next topic: workload and rewards vs. incentives. ‘Frequent Flier Program’ was developed previously.

  • Too many incentives and we attract people who only show up for the incentives
  • Work is falling to the few – too little is being accomplished: people agree to do the work and then just don’t do it. Same problem that has been going on since Council started.
  • Group participates in questions about what motivates them as individuals, why they came to Alliance Council.

c. Ten Years Project

VP Stephanie Steiner covers Ten Years of the Alliance project

  • Little movement since beginning of the year, when we thought we’d have Club support.  Kyle Sheldon quit and Taylor is covering his job.
  • If this project is to move at all, we have to get assignments done.
  • Everyone in the room agrees to participate in Ten Years project
  • Jesse will create an outline of how to write a blog for the project
  • Stephanie has a skeleton outline of topics
  • The Visibility group has discussed the project and has additional topics
  • Roberta completed a piece previously, but it was removed from the website because it needed supporting content in context.

IV. Adjournment

Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.

Meeting Minutes: July 2018

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

August 2018 – 7:00 PM – The NINETY

Call to Order

Call to order 7:00 PM

Attendance

Present: Nick Biesold, Jerry Neal, Stephanie Steiner, Roberta King, Darla Langdon, Lisa Angeles, Daniel Roe, Nicholaus Biela, Alex Eagleton, Jesse Kilgore, Martin Buckley, Gilbert Ko, Jeff Williams.

No one on phone.

Strategy Session

Season Ticket Member Celebration and Renewals – Mikaela Purvis

Welcome back Mikaela!

Renewals: Front Office survey of Season Ticket Members showed that 13% rated some degree of overall dissatisfaction: team performance is first priority and second is match day experience,

Inconvenient scheduling and resell are the new challenges for this year.

Value concession items: the Club is working on concession deals to offer fans at each match, similar to the hot dogs/drinks/popcorn deals that have been offered in the past.  It’s possible that there could be a variety.  This conversation is in progress

Other

  • There are no resell fees through SeatGeek for 2019 for Season Ticket Holders
  • Sounders offer AAA services on match day.
  • STM can purchase discounted season parking pass
  • STM may opt out of scarf and make RAVE Foundation

Working on:

  • 12 month payment plan
  • Sounders are looking for a transportation partner
  • Some other cool benefits surrounding 10 Years of Sounders in MLS

Green Zone (Hawk’s Nest, North End of stadium) Rows S and higher will be closed next year. Covered in tarp.

Pricing:

– weighted average 1.5 % increase.

– 42.1% of seats sold are decreasing in price or staying flat
– 26.7 decreasing
-15.4 staying flat

There are no increases larger than 3.8%.
Edit preferences 1 August
First payment 4 September

Suggestions from council.
– Allow the fans to know the final price.
– The payments can be adjusted if seats are different price.

Season Ticket Member Celebration:

Save the date STM Celebration August 19 11AM to 2PM
Number one request from fans are photo opportunities and autographs.
Scarf vote: will present the final 5 at STM Celebration – samples of the scarves will be there.

Scarf Vote update (for 2019 scarf)

The plan is to get the choices of scarfs from 42 to 5.
The scarves will be gifted to the final 5. Voting in person through the phone at the event. Trying not to compete with GM vote and cause voters’ fatigue.

Some open brainstorming from council to get more participate:

-links to software to help design.
-student version of Photoshop
-5 finalists get to keep the scarves
-Larger window of time to design
-provide the logo, Sounders FC fonts, etc.: make it easier for non-professional designers without access to that art
-important that it remains ‘from the Alliance Council’ and not commercially sold

Martin showed all 42 entries on-screen.

GM Vote update Martin, Alex, Jeff
– Alliance Council met with Adrian + Garth

2018 Alliance Council Projects                    

Food:            

Status and feedback from project leads and sub-teams keep the reviews coming.
Please take picture of food and send to Alex. Alex posted a picture of food on Facebook, and asked people to guess what it was. Different burgers in stadium: John Howie was the worst and cost the most. Alex will send reviews to Taylor and have them forward to First and Goal Hospitality.

Jersey: Jersey team was not given an update, but Stephanie and Martin had a little information. All are frustrated with the lack of creativity pushed upon us by Adidas and MLS.

Adidas is pushing MLS clubs to more and more similarity, yet promoting creativity and edginess but not honoring either. Both Council and Club are frustrated. Alliance Council is considering its next steps carefully.

Match day no update

Sitting vs standing: club making calls to season ticket holders. No one present had received such a call.  Council members expressed frustration over not being included in this conversation to solve sitting vs standing.

Travel: still working.

August meeting: will be a working/planning meeting.

Adjourn                    

Meeting Minutes: June 2018

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

 June 5, 2018 – 7:00 PM – The NINETY

Present (16 of 18): Lisa Angeles, Nicholaus Biela, Nick Biesold, Peter Buck, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Todd Cowles, Alex Eagleton, Jesse Kilgore, Roberta King, Darla Langdon, Jerry Neil, Daniel Roe, Stephanie Steiner, Molly Wagner, and Jeff Williams.

Via telephone (0): None.

Absent (2): Michael Dollard and Gilbert Ko.

I Call to order – Martin Buckley

II Roll – Cameron Collins: 14 of 18 Present

III. Strategy Session on RAVE Foundation with Ashley Fosberg, Executive Director of the RAVE Foundation, and Kinberly Aigner, Director of Community Outreach at Sounders FC: The strategic objective of RAVE Foundation is to  lead, serve, and invest in the community.

 → Lead: Drive awareness and engagement around key community initiatives through the sounders brand. This includes sustainability, Give Big, Pride, Special Olympics, and Kick Childhood Cancer.

SUSTAINIBILITY: RAVE is working with Washington Green Schools to aid in sustainability, as well as promote sustainability internally. WGS reaches out to 500 schools across the state and helps school with whatever they want to do to be more sustainable. Internally, the Sounders FO has started a green team that meets monthly with members from each of the Sounders departments.

GIVE BIG:
They encouraged players, fans, and staff to select their nonprofits of choice and take action. Seattle Foundation will no longer be doing the Give Big event, this the Sounders FO and RAVE are looking at how to continue to work with nonprofits in a similar capacity moving forward.        

PRIDE: They are working to promote LGBTQ awareness and equality in sports. 90% of LGBTQ youth has not had a positive experience in sports. They will work with Athlete Ally to put on a coaching clinic on how to make the locker room and the team an LGBTQ friendly experience. They have also created a Sounders FC GSBA Scholarship, which will give $10,000 a year to their selected scholar. More information available here: https://www.soundersfc.com/post/2018/06/04/sounders-fc-announces-establishment-club-sponsored-gsba-scholarship-through-2020.        

SPECIAL OLYMPICS: The Special Olympics USA Games is in Seattle. RAVE will be involved in soccer events at Championship Field at Seattle university and one match at University of Washington. They are looking for volunteers to show up and support the players July 2-5. There are attempting to foster a culture of inclusion. They have a unified team that plays matched against other unified teams, including a match against Portland. More information can be found here: https://www.soundersfc.com/post/2018/05/25/sounders-fc-hosts-special-olympics-unified-signing-day.

KICK CHILDHOOD CANCER: RAVE is focusing on creating empowering & inspirational experiences for kids battling cancer and their families. This year, there is an honorary team captain that walks out with our team captain who is battling cancer or who has battled cancer in the past. Kick Childhood Cancer month is in September. Last year they did the Out for Blood campaign with Zach Scott to get people to donate to Bloodworks NW. They will be doing something similar this year. Sept 4th they will be having blood drives. They will choose 4 Bloodworks NW locations outside of the Seattle area to run campaigns as well. September 29th is our annual Kick Childhood Cancer match.

→ Serve: They are constantly working on how to create a culture of service. Last year they did monthly staff opportunities to serve in the community during work hours. This year they want fans to be involved, so there will be a fan call to action.

→Invest: Sounders invests in our community through RAVE Foundation. Their mission is to strengthen communities and build small fields for free play.

RAVE TARGET NEIGHBORHOODS: South Park, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Yesler, Lake City, White Center, Burien, SeaTac, Des Moines, Tacoma, and Tukwila. There will be one or more programs in all of these communities. The Yesler Field will open this August and the grand opening celebration will be in September. They are also looking in to futsal courts, one of which has already been created at Beverly Park.

RAVE Octagon: Eight sided play space where kids can play. There have funded 2 so far. There are opportunities for partners to be involved with branding.

RAVE Programs. They are planning soccer camps and clinics in communities of need. They will give as many kids as possible a soccer ball. They have also created a Sports Media Institute where kids from RAVE target communities apply to be involved. It includes 20-60 kids.  They have also created a Science of soccer program, which uses soccer to teach STEM/science and math subjects. It is a 12 weeks long and based on Washington state requirements and is designed as both an after school and in school program.

IV 2018 Alliance Council Projects

Scarf Vote: They talked to Front Office about our prosed timeline and alterations to the vote. The Club are going to run a traditional scarf vote with voting online and voting in person at the fan event. They are going to start sending out information on how to submit a design in the middle of the month and in early to mid-July the council will narrow them down. On July 19, the top 5 will be shown at the fan event. Announced at Sounders home match on Sept 19th.

GM Vote: Council is meeting with Adrian Hanauer and Garth Largerwey this week to talk about the GM vote and express fan frustrations. Council members will then be able to go forth and speak their mind on what they think about the plans moving forward. We will have a four week voting window from end of September to end of October carried out electronically by a third party so that it is fully auditable.  There are two thresholds. For the vote to count, there needs to be a certain threshold of alliance members voting. For this quorum, it needs to be 40% of Alliance Members to be valid. For an action to be taken there needs to be a supermajority of the votes, or 66%. If quorum not met, no action is taken. If supermajority is not met, no action is taken.

10-Year Anniversary of the Alliance:
Until the Front Office hires a new person to handle this, we are in a holding pattern.   

Away Travel: Nothing to report.

Community Involvement:          A few events coming up that line up with the RAVE pillars. July 2 with Special Olympics is one event we are all encouraged to attend.       

Food & Beverage: The group is looking for volunteers to taste food. Martin will get in touch with the Club to try and get this going. Anyone who eats the food on the council, please take a picture and write down 2-3 sentences about it.   

Jersey Group: We met with the Club and saw the two potential mockups of the 2020 jersey and gave our feedback.

Matchday Experience: No update.        

Outreach & Visibility: The group is putting together all of tehir ideas.They have been throwing them out and now need to create overarching goals and make asks of council and Front Office. They will work in tandem with other groups so as to not redo work already being done in other groups.

Youth Outreach:
Todd talked with Ashley, Todd, and Taylor, and is working on a meeting with them on working with youth, getting butts in seats, and discussing how the Council can be involved with that. Molly was contact with the Reign and they may be interested in helping with some youth outreach. Summer is a good time to get involved with youth outreach.

Sitting vs. Standing: The Club has started to work on this issue internally. Council has anecdotes and real data and will meet with the Front Office to move it forward. Council Members want Questions about Sitting vs Standing to be a part of renewals. Council President Martin Buckley and Council Vice President Stephanie Steiner expressed their frustrations that Council has not been included in a collaborative conversation on this topic the Council has tried to tackle for many years now.

V Adjournment

Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.

Meeting Minutes: May 2018

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

May 1, 2018 – 7:00 PM – The NINETY

Present (14 of 18): Nicholaus Biela, Nick Biesold, Peter Buck, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Todd Cowles, Michael Dollard, Alex Eagleton, Roberta King, Gilbert Ko, Jerry Neil, Stephanie Steiner, Molly Wagner, and Jeff Williams.

Via telephone (3): Lisa Angeles, Jesse Kilgore, and Darla Langdon.

Absent (1): Daniel Roe.

I Call to order – Martin Buckley

II Roll – Cameron Collins: 14 of 18 Present

III. Strategy Session on Marketing and Game Presentation with Todd Albright, Sounders FC Director of Marketing and Fan Experience

Todd has worked for the Club for two years. He originally started as an employee of the Seattle Supersonics. Before he was an employee of the Sounders, he was an Alliance Member.

→ Marketing Goals for 2018: Average attendance was 44,247 per game in 2017. In 2018, the Club is hoping to exceed that number. The overarching goal is to sell out all of CenturyLink by 2026.

→ 2018 Marketing Areas of Focus: The Sounders hope to capitalize upon the World Cup. The team could have up to 4 players playing in the tournament. The Club already has a Sounders in Russia webpage set up and will have World Cup watch parties. They also plan to giveaway trips similar to the Rivalry Road Trip contest they just had to win a trip to Portland for the 100th ever matchup between the Sounders and Timbers. Over half of the people who entered were not Alliance Members. Sounders will also be launching a page to highlight the Sounders/Timbers rivalry leading up to the matches this season.

Gameday Presentation: There are some exciting changes coming to the Gameday Presentation. They are going to rework the tunnel where the players enter, allowing more media access to the players as they are about to enter the field. The goal is to have this completed for the Portland match on June 30th. It will be temporary, so it can go in and out for Seahawks game.
Passionate discussion about pre-game happy hour beer pricing in Stadium. The club is missing an opportunity to get people in earlier. New LED boards are going in for the next match. Almost all of the music in the stadium is now from local bands. Members of the Council talked about how much they love Jonathan Wright, the new National Anthem performer.

IV Bylaw 10, Second 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:

BYLAW 10.  ALLIANCE MEMBER ELIGIBILITY

The Alliance Council may allow additional memberships into the Alliance beyond those members with commercially purchased ticket packages.

10.1      Purchase Price: Membership in the Alliance may be purchased; the price shall be $75 per season.

10.2      Funds:  The Alliance Council shall have the right to allocate or use the funds collected for payment to join the Alliance.

10.3      Rejection of Membership: The Alliance Council may at any time create a process to reject or eliminate members who appear to be working against our commitment to protecting, upholding, and furthering the interests of the greater Sounders community.

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.

Moved for a vote. Seconded. Bylaw 10, as amended, passes by a vote of 13-1.

V At-Large Executive Committee Member Election:

With Karl Picard moving to ex officio, the Council has an open at-large Executive Committee position available. A call was made for nominations. Jeff Williams self-nominated for the position and ran without opposition. Jeff Williams becomes an At-Large Member of the Alliance Council Executive Committee for the 2017-18 Council Year by declaration

VI 2018 Alliance Council Projects

Scarf Vote (Roberta King & Martin Buckley): Some proposed changes to how the scarf vote works. It would fall under a new timetable. As in previous years, the Council will run the scarf vote with the Club. This time, the Council will collect the designs and reduce it to the best 4. The Club will get the scarves made so fans can see them at the Summer Fan Celebration.

The schedule has a really short voting window.  A proposal came from the Council to have vote in person at Fan Celebration in the summer. This would eliminate any voter fatigue moving in to the GM vote. This idea will be taken back to the Front Office.

Youth Outreach (Todd Cowles):

  • Focus:In general, they are seeking a focus around Youth Outreach that: makes a difference / moves the needle for youth in a positive way; is welcomed by the Sounders, providing benefit versus just being a distraction or added work for them; and provides easy and/or energizing opportunities for the Alliance Council and the Alliance to “lean in” and contribute. Members of the group will be reaching out to local clubs and the RAVE Foundation to see what ideas they can bring back to our Club.
  • Butts in Seats:There is energy around and visible paths to good possibilities with getting youth/butts in the seats that might not normally be there. There are empty seats available and there are youth (and their families) out there that who, at worst, simply experience a great match, and at best, eventually “join the brand.”

Sitting vs. Standing (Roberta King & Lisa Angeles): Will be working with the Club to get a question on the topic in the end of year survey.

Outreach & Visibility: The Group needs a new leader with Karl Picard becoming an ex officio Council Member. Cameron Collins will be the new group leader.        

Matchday Experience (Peter Buck): The group has had internal conversation about the best path forward and will be meeting with the Front Office to discuss.

Community Involvement (Darla Langdon): There are several upcoming opportunities for the Council to volunteer with the RAVE Foundation. June: YouthCare. July: 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. August: RAVE Yesler Field Opening. September: Kick Childhood Cancer Month, Day of Caring with United Way of King County, Rave Green Run, and RAVE One Ball Program. October: Washington Green Schools Project. November & December: Helping families in need during the holiday season.

Food and Beverage (Alex Eagleton & Jerry Neil): The Club heard the requests brought forth by the Council and will be working with a local winery to create a canned sparkling rosé inside the stadium.

GM Vote (Martin Buckley): The group met with Club. The Front Office knows that this is going to be big and will involve lots of messaging and marketing. The Council gave a lot of ideas to the Club that they could use to promote the vote, from paid social to the monthly magazine having a piece. Most of the lifting will be by the Front Office and they are weaving it in to their summer activities to start the conversation in August at the fan event. Mail, Social, in-game, halftime. Voting will open on the 19th of September. Will close on the 17th of October.  Big unveil is at Summer Fan Event. Messaging will start in August.

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.

Away Travel (Alex Eagleton): Jeff Williams has joined the group and they are working on ideas of how best to move forward.

10-Year Anniversary of the Alliance (Roberta King & Molly Wagner): With Kyle Sheldon leaving the Club, the champion within the FO for the Anniversary has departed. The Council will need to work with the FO on finding a new point person to carry water from the Club side.

VII. Adjournment

Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn