ALLIANCE COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES:
A report from the July 8th Alliance Conference Call with the Sounders own Bart Wiley
First In-person Meeting of the Alliance Council
Date to be set in the near future, prior to a home game near, or at, the stadium (several hours prior to pre-function activities, so all can attend).
Improvements to the Council Voting system
While not perfect, the vote system this season has sufficed. Whether a “one seat=one vote” model is possible or preferable is still up for debate, both logistically and in terms of balancing corporate, ticket broker, individual or other group purchaser’s representational power…while still allowing individual fans to feel they are getting value from their Alliance Membership and Season Ticket (personal vote, discount card, email communication).
There have been some limitations to the current vendor voting software, in that season ticket holder access was processed in batches causing some access problems. Next year, the possibility of a streamed feed is being looked at. Unfortunately, there isn’t a public access point for the software to allow public access to vote standings.
Section Preferences for Next Season
Many fans this season found themselves in sections that were non-conducive to how they hoped to enjoy the game…whether preferring to sit, stand, wave flags, blow horns, proximity to the band, beer consumption…or otherwise. Ticket reps will be calling season ticket holders soon to discuss renewals, and will be asking about fan experience this year, and asking what they’d hope for next year.
The Council heard from many fans this season who felt they were in the wrong section…also, many were still accessing section preference tools available at Ticketmaster and Sounders FC. The Council recommended updating these tools with current preferences and profiles for sections so renewing season ticket holders can make more informed decisions.
Under consideration…as there’s a range of strong opinions regarding their use/sale…both pro and against. Council members reported hearing from many dissatisfied fans and hearing of several confrontations arising from disagreements over horns at games.
Vancouver and Portland preparations for 2011
Sounders FC has been in contact with Vancouver and Portland. There will be reserved sections for visiting supporters at both Qwest (section 203) and the rival cities. Their season ticket holder sales may impact how many extra seats will be available for traveling Sounders fans. The Council also strongly suggested preparing now for strategies to keep fan separation between teams at games…as a way to head off conflicts, and commended the good work done so far at Qwest and gave some suggestions for improvement. The Sounders FC is also already in discussions with the other teams regarding this issue. Regarding traveling supporters. At this time Sounders FC will not be organizing travel arrangements, but will assist supporter groups as they are able. This may be reviewed next year to see if changes are needed.
Partial season ticket holders from the band move
Discussed previously…it was felt value/alliance status should be given to those who put money up early for season tickets. Also, many moved from other areas of the stadium and already enjoyed STH status.
International Supporters Clubs
The front office will be focusing on building the club for the immediate future, and encouraged Council members or those hoping to help support international clubs to put together a plan for review/consideration. One suggestion was for international groups to consider the successful ECS model, putting together a package for international fans (scarf, pin, membership card, etc) and letting it grow organically.
Council Impact and Responsibilities
The Council heard back that they are indeed having an impact, and Sounders staff have been pleased with the feedback they’ve been getting. They assured us that they are hearing the fans. The Council is also acting as a sounding board and stewards for the club/brand, and the Front Office is working to take our initiatives under consideration and into action. In the future, the Council would like to continue to have their discussions available on the Sounders FC site blogs, to better keep the fans connected and informed. And keep an eye out for more issue threads on the forum.