21 September 2017
By Stephanie Steiner
Sounders: You will have a star. Our team earned it, we will all be able to celebrate that championship authentically regardless of our size or gender. You matter. The star matters. We have been heard.
Very recently the Sounders’ Front Office announced on a joint call with MLS and adidas’ committee regarding championship stars, that regardless of the 2017 MLS Cup match outcome, all Sounders jerseys will have access to stars earned.
Here are the details:
Since we got involved and began applying pressure in this conversation, MLS and adidas agreed that they could work stars into the production of 2019 kits, but gave us lip service about the “complications,” of anything for 2018. This came in a letter from MLS’s Chief Legal Counsel that essentially told us to shut up and go away, if they had anything to communicate, they’d do it via the Club.
I made the request that they put the desires of the fans first, and consider that after-purchase heat application can be a viable solution for any club. We followed up with the Club consistently only to learn that a committee had been formed. There was “no news” for a long time.
On August 20th of this year, the Alliance Council had our summer meeting with owners and leadership, and I inquired about the status of the star situation. It was reiterated that 2019 kits would be covered: since nothing was manufactured, production could accommodate championship acknowledgement* on authentic and replica jerseys. Next, a new complication: MLS had expanded their investment into retail by vastly multiplying their contracted retail outlets and were worried that if only some stores could heat apply stars and others couldn’t, those stores which couldn’t would return the jerseys they ordered, and this could hamper the relationship they’d just built with these new small stores. My view: MLS is putting the relationships with stores ahead of the relationship with fans. I called BS.
I said that the small retailers who’d just partnered with MLS were either capable of heat application or they were not capable, and they were already aware of their capabilities because they either have the equipment to heat apply names and numbers to jerseys, or they don’t have the equipment. So for them to get into business with MLS and reject jerseys over a star is a ludicrous idea. What was really going on here is that MLS and adidas were fully aware that those small stores know whether or not they can heat apply stars. What they were counting on is that I wasn’t aware enough to figure that out. It was just another line of crap.
Image from YouTube
Based on the lack of supportive developments from MLS, I let the Sounders owners and leadership know that we intended to go forward with our plans to protest (Sounders were/are not the target and I also made sure I was clear to reinforce that). I was done with MLS and adidas putting more reasons for not honoring fans into a conversation that never should have been necessary to begin with: they caused the problem, and they continued to cause more problems in our request that they solve the issue they created. I have zero confidence that they ever approached this from the perspective of “fan first.” They never even included a fan representative on the committee.
Bart Wiley, COO, represents the Sounders on this committee. He let us know that he’d be on a call with the rest of the group in early September. Martin Buckley, Vice President of the Alliance Council followed up with him on Tuesday and learned that Bart announced on the committee call that Sounders FC will acquire stars for all 2018 jerseys purchased through our official team stores and our partner stores, regardless of the plans made (or not made) by MLS and adidas. This is big.
Now: what about everyone else? We said we were in this for all championship winners, not just us. We requested and received a commitment from Bart Wiley that our Club will assist any other club that wishes to do the same. It was our hope that MLS and adidas would step up, but they didn’t: I’m proud of our Club.
At this point, we will not proceed with our plans to protest: we’re calling this a win for fans. Early this year, Taylor Graham wanted me to explain what our protest plans were. I declined and said instead when this was resolved, I’d buy an adult beverage for him, Bart, Doug Orwiler, each of the owners, and Martin Buckley – and I’d explain the details of the protest they had avoided. My offer still stands.
We have way too many people to thank individually:
First, we all need to thank Bart and the front office leaders at Seattle Sounders FC who stood up for us fans in this conversation when MLS and adidas shut us out. The Sounders have many reasons to keep a strong relationship with both of those entities and they chose to put fans first. Bart Wiley made the announcement, and I’m sure there were more people involved in the decision.
Next, I want to thank all of the attorneys who said yes to supporting us “ACLU style” when I asked them to buff up on protestors’ rights and be present on the day, in case legal minds were needed to remind cops and stadium security that all was legal.
I send very special and whole-hearted thanks to the other clubs across the league that were willing to join and get their fans on board. Many clubs have won; all clubs have the possibility of earning that star. We were never in this just for ourselves and knowing we had the ability to create a visible protest in multiple cities on behalf of all fans and all clubs is tremendous.
Of course, I thank all of you who met us at Fuel or joined in when I asked for your help on social media: it shows the love and commitment you have for your Club, your Crest, and your Championship. It matters.
Last, but never least: we all need to thank Martin Buckley for his diligence, thoughtfulness, and (for me!) keeping me out of jail.
*There’s a rumor going around that 2019 championships (and beyond) will be recognized with an emblem other than a star. Because MLS. As a fan, I think it’s absolute marketing garbage. As the President of the Alliance Council – this is not our fight.
Photo credit badge for the main image: Jon Tyson
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. We – as 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.
12 September 2017
By Martin Buckley and Stephanie Steiner
“Seattle Sounders FC and Century Link Field are aware of fan-related ingress complaints over the last several matches. Both sides are working collectively to identify and address these concerns.” – Seattle Sounders FC and CenturyLink Field
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL
July 10, 2017 – 7:00 PM – The NINETY
Present (13 of 16): Nicholaus Biela, Nick Biesold, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Mike Dollard, Alex Eagleton, Roberta King, Darla Langdon, Jeremy Monsivais, Karl Picard, Daniel Roe, Stephanie Steiner, Kristina Vaughn, and Jeff Williams.
Via telephone (1): Bill Kaczaraba
Absent (2): Nicholaus Biela and Steve Wilson.
I. Call to order – Stephanie Steiner
II. Roll – Cameron Collins: 13 of 16 Present
III. Ticket Renewals: Mikaela Purvis, Director of Membership Engagement & Retention
A. Retention → Their top goal is retention. They hope to increase ticket member retention by enriching the ticket members’ lives and creating moments through soccer. The goals break down in to six areas: 1) relationship with club, 2) customer service, 3) sales, 4) engagement, 5) events, and 6) benefits.
a. Relationship with club: Focus on creating camps and other opportunities for kids and the community; supporting the supporter groups and the Alliance Council; and the matchday experience.
b. Customer service: Focus on reactive problem solving and proactive communication.
c. Sales: Focus on referrals, group premium outings, and upselling.
d. Engagement: Focus on social media, rewards, touchpoints, and “wow moments.”
e. Events: Focus on access to players and bonding with other fans.
f. Benefits: Focus on savings, access, and rewards/experiences.
B. Midseason Survey: The Club sent out a mid-season survey to Alliance Members to see how they are using their benefits, what their satisfaction is with benefits, and the likelihood that they would renew.
a. The top 3 benefits were Options to Resell, Alliance Member Scarf, and Pro Shop Discount.
b. People were highly satisfied with mobile ticketing.
c. People were satisfied with the Alliance Council.
d. The only area of dissatisfaction was Matchpass Perks. Only about 25 to 30% of Alliance Members use their Matchpass Perks and people are primarily entered in to random drawings.
e. Although people aRe fond of their Alliance Member Scarves, the Club liked the opportunity the Council proposed where Alliance Members could forego their scarf, donating its value to charity. In 2018, this opportunity will be available during renewal. Decisions are for the entire account; Every ticket must give up the scarf for the entire account. All donations will be used for Rave Foundation’s soccer ball program. Delta Airlines will be matching the donations. The Council would like the Club to ask Delta Airlines if they can also match Alliance Member donations directly to Rave Foundation, as a Member may not want to forego their scarf.
C. Season Ticket Member Celebration: on August 13th, the Sounders will be having an event at CenturyLink Field from 11 am to 2 pm to celebrate the fans.
D. Autorenewal: a large percentage of accounts are still set to opt-in, but following this renewal period, every account will be set to autorenewal. With autorenewal, if you choose not to renew, you simply fill out an online form that deals with the process.
E. Renewal Process: The renewal period is August 1-September 1. Relocations will take place September 11-29. Must have renewed current location to be eligible for relocation. Playoff Tickets & new sales will take place in October.
F. Sitting vs. Standing: The Council brought up the perennial topic of Sitting versus Standing. The current conversation has been that the Sounders do not want to dictate whether a section sits or stands. It is majority rules. If the majority choose to sit, it is a sitting section. If they choose to stand, it is a standing section.
a. The issue that several members of the Council raised is that in the stands, as a practical matter, it is “monkey see, monkey do.” People do not necessarily know they have the ability to have their section be a sitting section, and if people in the front row stand, it means everyone will end up having to stand.
b. Because everyone believes they have to stand, how will the Club communicate that this is an option? Could a survey be part of the renewal process?
c. A survey could potentially show that this is not a major issue, that it is a vocal minority who raise the issue.
d. The Council noted that the Club would likely worry that asking as part of the renewal process could open a can of worms and set the expectation that change is coming, and that there would need to be a plan in place on enforcement in a section. Currently, in the Club sections, security handle the issue when someone stands in the sitting sections. The Front Office will discuss this matter further.
IV. Alliance Council Survey
Martin Buckley Alliance Council Members from 2015 – 2017 were asked to take a survey on what they thought the Council did well, and what they thought could be improved. The survey had a 74% response rate. The focus was on perception, open-ended responses, improvements, areas of strength, and areas of weakness.
A. Would you recommend joining the Council? Common themes included historical tedium of the Constitution, Front Office perceptions, Council Member expectations, and Work vs. Fun. People either loved or hated being on Council; there was very little in-between.
B. Alliance Council on the Front Office: Three years of the Alliance Council spoke and felt that the Front Office did not take the Council seriously, primarily treating the Council as a focus group rather than as a partner. Roberta gave the historical perspective that in the beginning, the relationship was very adversarial, so the Council got off on the wrong foot from the outset. The feeling was that it does seem to be getting better.
C. What would make the Alliance Council better? There was a wide range of ideas on how we could improve. The main takeaways were outreach so that the Alliance could know more about Democracy in Sports, having a budget to help with independence and potentially forming a non-profit, and better follow up from the body of the Council.
V. Council Initiatives
A. Scarf Vote – Kristina Vaughn & Roberta King: It is coming up quickly. All members of the committee should be ready to vote because it will require a quick turnaround to narrow all of the entries down to the five that will be presented to the Alliance for a vote.
B. 10-year Anniversary of the Alliance – Roberta King & Bil Kaczaraba: Roberta presented that she has made an outline of topics and requested volunteers to work on the project. The work will include writing articles, filming interviews, and more. Bill and Roberta will be collaborating with President Steiner on how best to move the project forward.
C. Constitution Vote – Martin Buckley: The Alliance-wide vote on the new Constitution is ongoing. Thus far, of those who click through to the Alliance Council webpage, 60% follow through to the voting site.
V. Monthly Call with Front Office
Stephanie Steiner and Martin Buckley had their monthly scheduled call with the Front Office. In the call with the FO, they focused on their frustration that the email sent to the Alliance about Constitution Voting being live had a subject line about Bowling with Players. Many people did not even open the email because of that headline. More traffic came to the Alliance Council webpage than came from twitter than came from their email. If Democracy in Sports is going to be a pillar of the organization, they need to treat it as such, rather than as a pillar of marketing. Stephanie and Martin also expressed the Council’s frustration that the Constitution vote did not receive equal billing with the Rave Foundation’s bowling event in an email nor in the stadium. The Club interpretation was that in our relationship we have very high highs and very low lows. We need to work on the low so that they do not happen in the future. They understand that the Council relationship with Gary Wright has been created to help improve the relationship between the Club and the Council.
VI. Open Conversation
A. Council Tables at CenturyLink Field: In August, we have the opportunity as a Council to have tables on the concourse at two matches: 8/12 & 8/20. We will use the opportunity to promote the Alliance Council and create more visibility, as well as promote the Scarf Vote.
Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL
June 6, 2017 – 7:00 PM – The NINETY
Present (14 of 16): Nicholaus Biela, Nick Biesold, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Mike Dollard, Alex Eagleton, Bill Kaczaraba, Roberta King, Darla Langdon, Jeremy Monsivais, Karl Picard, Stephanie Steiner, Kristina Vaughn, and Jeff Williams.
Via telephone (0): None.
Absent (2): Daniel Roe & Steve Wilson.
I. Call to order – Stephanie Steiner
II. Roll – Cameron Collins: 14 of 16 Present
III. 2019 Sounders Jersey – Mikaela Purvis, Director of Membership Engagement & Retention; Taylor Graham, Vice President of Business Operations; and Bart Wiley, Chief Operating Officer
Last year was the first year that the Alliance Council was able to work with the Club on the jersey. The Club took some great feedback to Adidas and the relationship with the Alliance Council in relation to the 2018 jersey worked out well.
→ The Club wants a second kit for 2019 that reflects the Sounders brand
→ What is the vision and inspiration for the 2019 kit?
→ What is the most important story to bring to life with 2019 jersey?
→ Are there identity elements make sure are included in 2019 jersey?
IV. New Member: Jeff Williams
Jeff was our last new member of the year, getting enough votes to join Council just prior to June 1st, when voting resets and people who get elected join next year’s Council.
→Jeff is a former soccer coach who has three daughters who have all played soccer at a collegiate level. His eldest daughter even played for the Seattle club in a previous iteration of the women’s professional soccer league.
→ Jeff wants to help continue the fan experience he has had since Day 1 with the Sounders. He hopes for all new fans to have the same positive experience he has had.
V. Council Initiatives
A. Stars for All: In the jersey portion of tonight’s meeting, the Front Office let the Council know that Doug Orwiler, Director of Retail Operations for the Sounders, is working with the MLS to come up with a long-term solution to the issues we have raised in our Stars for All campaign.
B. Charitable Contribution – Darla Langdon & Bill Kaczaraba: The Council has a sum of money from last year’s Matchpass Rewards program that we can donate to a charity of our choice. There was a discussion of various options for the donation, focusing primarily on whether the donation should be made to an organization that works within the soccer community or to a non-profit not affiliated with soccer in any way.
→ Council Vote: Should Council’s charitable contribution be to a non-profit that is part of the soccer community?: 13 votes for a non-profit that works within the soccer community. 1 vote for a non-profit that is not affiliated with the Sounders or soccer in any way.
The discussion as to what organization the money should be donated to focused primarily on two organizations: The RAVE Foundation and Steve Zakuani’s Kingdom Hope. If the money went to the RAVE Foundation, it would go directly to the Foundation’s upcoming Sports Media Institute (where they need $5000 to fund the event) and RAVE’s art program at their camps ($2000 is needed). If the money were donated to Kingdom Hope, it would go to their Scholarship programs, but no information was received on the amount of money needed for the program or how the donation would be used. After passionate discussion for both sides, a vote was taken.
→Council Vote: Should Council’s charitable contribution go to The RAVE Foundation or Kingdom Hope?: 13 votes for RAVE Foundation, 0 votes for Kingdom Hope, and 1 abstention.
C. Scarf Vote – Kristina Vaughn & Roberta King: The Front Office has suggested that the scarf vote take place at the same time as ticket renewal and could be built in to that process. Rough Timeline: Launch (July 10), End of Entries (July 24), Alliance Council narrows down (July 25-29), Voting begins (August 1), Voting Ends (August 31), Winner announced at match (September 1). Karl Picard will tease that the scarf vote is coming through our Alliance Council Twitter account.
D. 10-year Anniversary of the Alliance: Roberta King presented to the Council that there is already one post up on our website, and the hope is to get 1-2 posts per month, possibly structuring it with each post being about a different year of the Alliance. Roberta has agreed to be the project manager and will work with Bill Kaczaraba to help get interviews done for the project. The two will work together to create an outline for how the project should proceed, but would like other Council Members to work on the project.
E. Annual Business Meeting – Martin Buckley: There has been further discussion on changing it to an online event that will be streamed live and have live interaction with the online audience. It would be a small event in person, with 150-200 people present. The Council is looking to the Zach Scott Testimonial Match for online metrics, which shows that it has had 34,000 views since the match.
F. Constitution Vote: The Alliance-wide vote on the new Constitution will take place in July. The Council needs to write several op-eds for our website on different topics surrounding the vote and is looking for volunteers. The Council will host the why, where, and how on our own website and link back to the voting platform. Stephanie Steiner will writer about why the Constitution has changed. Nickle Biesold will write about why the vote is important. Mike Dollard has agreed to help review and edit the posts.
V. Monthly Call with Front Office
Stephanie Steiner and Martin Buckley had their monthly scheduled call with the Front Office and will be meeting with Gary Wright, Sounders Consultant and former Senior Vice President, next week. In this conversation with the Front Office, amongst other things, the two discussed the “The Save” mural, and how disappointed the Council was to not be a part of it when the Club knew we were working on a way to commemorate “The Save.”
VI. Open Conversation
A. Council Perks: Council Vice-President Martin Buckley has developed a potential perks system for Council Member Participation. This system would have four tiers entitled Rave Green (tier 1), Sounder Blue (tier 2), MLS Gold Scarf (tier 3), and MLS Cup Gold star (tier 4). Each move up to the next tier mandates greater involvement from an Alliance Council Member. This would allow for benefits above and beyond what council members already receive to be allocated when the space to participate in the opportunity is limited.
B. Garage Sale: Cameron Collins has spoken to the Club about the Alliance Council being the sponsor of the Garage Sale, and the word from the Front Office was that it was a possibility but we would need a buy-in from the Council. The entire Council raised their hands when an informal vote was taken to gauge volunteer interest from the Council.
Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.
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.
| ||Individual Users||Weighted vote
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.
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.
“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.
Stephanie Steiner – President, Seattle Sounders FC Alliance Council
Martin Buckley – Vice President, Seattle Sounders FC Alliance Council
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 here – vote here.
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.
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/