January 14, 2016

By Stephanie Steiner

What a wild ride, or at least it seemed so if you’re me (and you’re not, so be generous, K?).  We had a lot to do, and we didn’t even know it yet.

We started with a bang in February: no place to meet. We tried to keep that little fact quiet, but we learned really late in the game that CenturyLink had changed their rules to allow us to meet there in such a way that made it impossible.  The NINETY was still a construction zone, and the conference room at the Sounders office wasn’t available. Great.  Angelica Germani and I tried every community location we could think of:  public libraries were free of charge until six o’clock (we didn’t start until seven).   PCC Natural Markets and Whole Foods Market have classrooms but they were all booked.  Every community center in the area was either booked or not available as late as we’d need it.  Eventually, after days of stress and a gazillion calls (every business wanted guaranteed money, and we don’t have any), our friends at Temple came through for us. God love them and help them prosper, always.  We had the basement to ourselves as long as we promised not to move the furniture (Likkit!). This was just the first meeting, we hadn’t even started yet.

And a fabulous meeting it was:  I set the tone for my presidency when I thunked my head on a large brick arch.  I don’t remember much other than a voice from the room: “Gawd that sounded like someone just dropped a cantaloupe.”  Yep.  Graceful, that’s me.  But we got through the elections, had our 2015 board in place, and outlined our March meeting.  We invited everyone back to meet with Adrian Hanauer and Garth Lagerwey the following week, and off we went to the bar – like true Sounders fans.

The following meeting a week later was fantastic.  We got to meet Garth Lagerwey for the first time to ask him anything, and we did.  We planned for the meeting to last an hour, and we were still there two hours and fifteen minutes later.  He was already indoctrinated to the Pacific Northwest with a two gallon cup of coffee (perhaps exaggerated, perhaps not) at six o’clock at night.  He fit right in.  Adrian started with his poker face, but took it down after a little prodding.  He even smiled a few times by the end, and we took the opportunity to greatly acknowledge him for his tremendous contribution to our Club.  We were all committed to doing what was right for the Charter and the General Manager Vote, but figuring out what was right and making a recommendation was on us, the Council.  That set the tone for most of our working year.

In March we set our work groups and determined the leaders of those groups.  By April a few of those people had already bailed out, never to be seen again at a council meeting. It sounds bad, but it’s not atypical. The people who usually do the work continued to do it, and the ones who typically don’t, didn’t this year either.

Throughout the year we met with representatives from Community Outreach, Ticketing, and The Rave Foundation.  We collaborated with Taylor Graham and Maya Mendoza Exstrom until we had the revisions to the General Manager Vote language that worked and we had created the General Manager Recall language.   We built this blogsite, grew our Twitter following, hosted our annual scarf vote, and I even got invited to SonarFeed.

SonarFeed was interesting, I’ve never done anything like that before and I give huge props to Erin, Hugo, and Kyle for making it easier than I expected.  But they also challenged the 2016 Council to be better:  to show up, and to publish the votes – and this one didn’t just come from them but from comments online and in the audience at the Berliner: things like “I didn’t vote for people to sit there and abstain.” Got it. People want to see how we’re voting as in each of us individually.  People want to know before they re-elect a Councilmember. Wow.  They also challenged the Council to further develop the editorials & opinions section on this blogsite. They’re right about all of it – they want a more active Alliance Council.

But the only way we get a more active Alliance Council to do those things is if people who are willing to do those things run for Council, get elected, show up consistently, and get their stuff done.  So, if you know a Season Ticket Member who’d be great at it, encourage them to run for Council.  Voting will reset on January 31st 2016 (all existing votes get cleared out), and usually starts up again around the second week of February.

Below are the answers from Sounders’ Front Office (finally!) to the questions submitted for the Annual Business Meeting.  Some were submitted directly to us, some were submitted to them via their online forms.  As each side collected questions, we shared them with each other.  By November 11th, we cut the questions off and I submitted my answers to the Front Office. If questions were directed to the Council, I answered the question and I put my name in the answer so that you’d know the answer came from me.  The rest were answered by someone in the Sounders’ front office.  Several of the questions say some form of the answer “was covered by General Manager Garth Lagerwey at the meeting.”  I don’t care for seeing that answer twenty-six times. I think they could have done better than that, especially since they had nine weeks to get this done.  But Garth’s answers were lengthy and difficult to recap, and I can’t change it, so here’s the link to the video. Garth Lagerwey is up after me at 35:35.  There is one reference to an answer that Adrian Hanauer gave, he’s up much closer to the beginning.

I’m also disappointed in their answer to the question regarding Supporter Group flags. Supporter Groups have a right to be there and bring their flags, everyone else has the rest of the damned stadium to choose from.  The people who complain should not be told  “If these flags are influencing your ability to enjoy the match, please contact your service rep so we can remedy this immediately…” That answer implies to readers that the remedy will be a change to the flag policy. It’s time for people to read that the change needs to be where they sit.  They need to read it here, in the answers to the questions and in the stadium signage.  It’s long overdue for Sounders FC to step up and support their supporters on this one.  In-stadium signage needs to show that if someone is dissatisfied with flags blocking their view, they can talk to StaffPro and be re-seated elsewhere.  The same people have been buying those seats and complaining for years.  They don’t want to move because they want to race down to field level when the match ends and be treated by players as if they contributed to the environment like a Supporter Group member.  Well they can’t have it both ways.  Change the message and change the signs – this is ridiculous.

And then there is this answer, which is just laughable:

When will there be greater opportunities for input into the colors selected for the third kit similar to how the club approaches the STH scarf? We currently work with Alliance Council on elements of each new kit.  Want to have input?  Join Alliance Council.

Council passed a resolution giving Council involvement in 3rd Kit. When it was shut down and ignored by the FO brass, a challenge was brought to owners. Adrian Hanauer’s response was that Bart Wiley would probably hate his answer, but he didn’t understand why we couldn’t be involved in every kit design.  I’m sure Bart did hate that answer, and there’s no way Adidas or the designers could manage the confidentiality agreements, so that isn’t going to happen.

We aren’t currently involved in any new design elements of each new kit, and we certainly don’t get to know or select colors – that is convenient verbiage that indicates a positive answer to the question.  We can choose a few words for the neck tape, and we can choose the jock tag – if the Sounders agree with our choices.  Those aren’t new design elements.  We never know anything about the kit for which we’re involved, and this was in direct violation of the resolution passed for the 2014 kit.  The standard line was always along the lines of “well kits have to be designed so far in advance that there’s really no opportunity…” Then everyone waited for that guy to leave the room and then laughed at him.  Newbies would ask if he really thought we were that gullible.  I’d say, “Yes, but don’t worry about it, we’ll use it later.”  So I guess I just made the decision that now equals later, and it’s time to rewrite that resolution and update it. Anyone with design background want to run for Alliance Council? Expect to sign an NDA and honor it.  It only works if you show up.

It was a productive year. We still have a lot to accomplish, and the more we’re willing to take on the more we can advance the cause of the Alliance as a whole. With the efforts of all of us, we can help grow the Alliance closer to its potential.

Happy 2016 everyone!

QUESTION ANSWER
INJURIES INJURIES
With all the injuries this year and the massive mid-summer slump what are the plans for next season’s roster to better be prepared for injuries? Our Sports Science staff will analyze and evaluate data from this season to continue to build upon industry leading best practices in injury prevention, recovery and related areas for the 2016 season.  Sports Science will continue to be a significant emphasis and team priority.
Very young & very old players tend to get injured the most. Is there any empirical evidence that the sports science being used is truly helping? Yes and Sports Science will therefore continue to be an area of emphasis for our club.
There seemed to be an extraordinary amount of injuries this year. How was training different from last year? How will it be different next year? While we can’t comment on all training plans, training is customized to the individual, and our Sports Science team will continue to leverage data to make appropriate training decisions.
Players have had a lot of soft tissue leg injuries this year. It’s had a negative impact on our season. What can we do better to prevent them? Our Sports Science staff will analyze and evaluate data from this season to continue to build upon industry leading best practices in injury prevention, recovery and related areas for the 2016 season.
On weeks when both Sounders and S2 are traveling the teams are spread thin especially when compounded with injuries. Any thoughts on how to do better? Our Sports Science staff will analyze and evaluate data from this season to continue to build upon industry leading best practices in injury prevention, recovery and related areas for the 2016 season.
How would you assess the training staff in light of the frequency, severity, and number of players that sustained injuries this season? Our Sports Science staff will analyze and evaluate data from this season to continue to build upon industry leading best practices in injury prevention, recovery and related areas for the 2016 season.   GM Garth Lagerwey provided data points on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
Given the extensive number of injuries suffered this year, what is currently being done to minimize injuries and improve recovery times? Our Sports Science staff will analyze and evaluate data from this season to continue to build upon industry leading best practices in injury prevention, recovery and related areas for the 2016 season.   GM Garth Lagerwey provided data points on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
Has any analysis been done of our hamstring injuries vs other teams in the MLS to see if there is a measurable discrepancy for our amount of injuries? GM Garth Lagerwey provided data points on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
What changes will be made to making sure the team is at full fitness for a CCL game in late February? While we can’t comment on specific coaching practices, training throughout preseason will be focused on getting the team fully fit for the first leg vs. Club America on February 23. Success in the Champions League is one of the top priorities of the organization.
TECHNICAL SIDE/PLAYERS/TEAM PHILOSOPHY TECHNICAL SIDE/PLAYERS/TEAM PHILOSOPHY
With the team obviously struggling when key players are missing from the pitch. What is being done to better develop our depth when they are absent? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
With the abundance of INTL talent coming to the MLS, what are ways can the Sounders stay ahead of the league’s advancing curve in talent and growth? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
With teams being more invested all over the league; how and where does Seattle see itself in the league 5-10 years from today in terms of the curve? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
With aging superstars, new west coast teams, and a very green development team, what is our focus over the next 5 years that will keep us competitive? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
Who is retiring before this upcoming season? How can we keep our players healthy?  We are unable to comment on this question at this time.  Player retirements will be announced (if applicable) within the next few weeks.  Sports Science questions were addressed through both Garth Lagerwey and Dave Tenney during the Business Meeting.
When do we expect to sign Jordan Morris? We are unable to comment on this question.
What’s the Sounders plans/strategies for continuing youth player development through the academy and beyond? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
What is the plan for our key players that are 30+? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
What is being done to improve the injection of youth on the team, especially in light of upcoming teams like FC Dallas and Vancouver? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
What consideration, if any, is being given to developing a residency program for the academy? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
What changes are coming to the Academy? Will the Sounders be able to create tighter relationships with the premier clubs in Washington? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
What are the succession plans for our older players and how will we acquire elite young talent to replace them? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
The S2 players seemed more energetic & hustled more than the Sounders players this season. What’s the reasoning behind the different styles of play? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
Please explain what is the style of play the sounders are developing? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
I am become more concerned that the average team age being much higher than other playoff teams. Is this concern shared? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
How does the organization going ahead, plan to balance experience (age) with new talent coming in? We have one of the oldest teams in the League. GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
Does the technical and coaching staff plan to address the current bias towards age & experience vs. speed & athleticism in player selection? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
Why didn’t we take Champions League more serious? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
Do the Sounders FC intend to have an intentional relationship with youth soccer Clubs in the Seattle area? Yes and GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
Academy system through first team – does SSFC have a style of play or umbrella characteristics that are hammered into players from age 10 to age 40? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
Sounders have oldest team (av. 29) of last 4 Western teams in the playoffs. Other 3 collectively av. about 26. Is club considering purge/recruitment? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
Who among the current players is going to be gone and are you going to find some young, fast, skilled players to make us better and able to compete? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
How will the organization make good on its promise to cultivate local talent through S2? And how will we see S2 grow this year? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
Please characterize the health of our development academy & S2. What priorities are there to promote their growth? What are their biggest challenges? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
S2/STARFIRE S2/STARFIRE
Will you provide any incentives/promotions for S1 STHs to attend S2 games in 2016? From time to time, we will offer the ability for first team fans to have access to S2 tickets at a promotional price.  Those offers are not finalized for 2016.
I would like to go to more S2 games but it is difficult to get to the field in Tukwila. Can we schedule some S2 games in Seattle somewhere? S2 will continue to play their home matches at Starfire in 2016.
How would you assess first year of S2 re: player development and brand expansion? What is being considered to improve both of those facets? GM Garth Lagerwey provided information on this subject during his portion of the Business meeting.
Galaxy II played in a doubleheader in Home Depot this year. Any chance S2 can play in a doubleheader in the Clink next season? Thank you for the idea, we will consider this for the 2016 season.
Why isn’t capacity at Starfire increased? Not a lot, but maybe something like another grandstand across from the current one? We work closely with Starfire on long-term capital projects.  At this time, there are no plans for an additional grandstand.
When will the Starfire building/addition break ground? Sounders FC has a long-term lease with Starfire to remain a core tenant and user of those facilities, which include ongoing conversations and planning for capital expenditures to make Starfire stronger for both the club and facility.  Remaining at Starfire for the long-term remains Sounders FC’s first choice and priority, and the organization is working with Starfire on those plans. In the event that at some point in the next 3-6 months Sounders FC and Starfire cannot realize a long-term solution that makes sense for both parties, then club will evaluate all of its options at that time. These options could include looking to a new facility or long-term location for the club.
Can you please provide an update on the capital improvements at Starfire that Founding Membership proceeds have been earmarked for? Additionally, Sounders FC and Starfire developed a plan and concept design for a building to be constructed on the west end of Starfire Stadium in 2015. Sounders Community Trust, as stewards of the Founders Club funds were involved in that process. Garth’s desire to critically assess the long-term plan for all Sounders FC teams and programs from a facilities and infrastructure perspective, as well as costs, put that plan for construction on hold for the time being. Sounders FC has set aside the Founders Club funds – approximately $250,000 – which were generated for a capital improvement project, in a separate account and will make no use of those funds without direction of Sounders Community Trust.
TURF/SOCCER SPECIFIC STADIUM TURF/SOCCER SPECIFIC STADIUM
Would it be feasible to have a natural grass field for the spring and early summer matches? At this time, transitioning the stadium between grass and turf on an ongoing basis is not in our plans.  We continually look for the best options for the team and the facility.
Why do you always let people ask about turf and added time, every single year? I don’t think it’s every single year, but:  these are the questions that the Alliance sends in.  The Club sends to me all of the questions that they collect, I send to them all of the questions that I collect.  We both sort and filter them into topics. For the first ten days of the collection window, the playing surface was the number one submitted topic – it’s what Season Ticket Members want to talk about.  – Stephanie Steiner
Please offer perspective on a feasibility study for a Soccer-Specific-Stadium.  What time frame has been or will be examined, for example, Year 2030? We are proud to have a partnership with CenturyLink Field through 2028.  We will continue to focus on our existing venue, and how best to serve fans in that space for the next 13 years of our lease.
Any chance that the turf replacement is a Hybrid grass/artificial surface like they have at Arsenal, Green Bay Packers & Denver Broncos? We are evaluating all options with our partners at CenturyLink Field and the Seahawks to find innovative options that serve both teams in the best way possible.
What is the status of the turf: when will it be replaced and what is the schedule thereafter?  What is the material that will be used to replace the current turf? (tell Stephanie that I didn’t ask about grass) As shared at the Business Meeting, we will have new turf for the 2016 season.
SCHEDULE SCHEDULE
What are your thoughts on the MLS moving to a more consistent, predictable schedule? Are there benefits to such a schedule like the NFL has? Before the start of the 2015 schedule, MLS created a more consistent schedule with national TV games on Fridays and Sundays, with locally televised matches on Saturdays. The MLS schedule will continue to last between March and October, with the post-season continuing into November and December.
Will there be any friendly matches in 2016 that will include any EPL teams? Currently there is nothing scheduled to host any EPL teams, and the international friendly will depend on how far Sounders FC advances into the CONCACAF knockout rounds.
Will the front office please consider making the friendly  match typically included in the season ticket package an optional item rather than mandatory The 18th game in the Season Ticket package will be the CONCACAF Club America match. Should Sounders FC advance, the 19th match will be the CONCACAF semi-final round. Currently there are no international friendlies scheduled, but this is contingent on the results in CONCACAF.
Is there ever a chance that international duty can be put into the master schedule, to have gaps in the regular MLS schedule? Sounders FC is working with MLS to see whether we would like to play during FIFA windows. For the most part, this is up to each individual club.
Is there Sounder & league support at the owner level to pressure MLS to honor international FIFA dates so we don’t lose players to national team duty? Sounders FC is working with MLS to see whether we would like to play during FIFA windows. For the most part, this is up to each individual club.
Do the Sounders have any plans to have a first team and S2 double header? We will continue to explore this option for 2016.  At this time, we do not have any formal plans for a first team and S2 doubleheader.
Could you please announce actual kickoff time in schedules, news, and social media?  It would help fans to know. With actual kick times changing with TV windows, Sounders FC will continue to communicate as best as possible with fans regarding start times. Oftentimes they can change at the last minute.
SEASON TICKETS, MATCHPASS, TICKET PACKAGES, PRICES, CONFIGURATIONS SEASON TICKETS, MATCHPASS, TICKET PACKAGES, PRICES, CONFIGURATIONS
Would like to know why they need to raise prices every year. I have been a season ticket holder since season 1 and prices have more than doubled. Our ticket prices remain steadily in the middle of the league and will continue to stay that way.
Will you include the CCL knockout round games in the 2016 STH package? As addressed at the Business Meeting, we will play host to Club America in late February and this crucial knockout round match will be included in your season ticket package.
Will season ticket holders ever get something instead of a scarf for the annual renewal? Like a hat or a shirt or something? The Alliance Council has discussed this off and on for a few years, but there’s more to it than the ‘stuff.’  There is a whole ritual involved:  Scarves Up is about a show of solidarity among our all of our fans, it’s a show of support for our men on the pitch, and it’s to show our opponents that there is absolutely nothing going on in their stadiums that is as good as what we have here.  It’s an intentional display of dominance: it sends a message that they are in our house. That cannot be replaced with a hat or a shirt, so we need to be careful that we aren’t disrupting a very important part of the matchday experience.  Perhaps someday we’ll get to a point where a scarf will be the default and something else will be an option, but if it’s really about the “stuff” to you, then it’s very likely that the next bit of “stuff” won’t satisfy you either.  We can’t solve that – because the perspective in which it’s being received is not the same as that with which it was created.  I know you don’t need another scarf, I don’t either – but did any of us ever need the first one?  There is just a lot to consider.  – Stephanie Steiner
Will match pass work every time next year and no issues with Clink software? Yes, we are currently working with the stadium and other technology vendors to ensure systems and integrations function at the highest level for fans.
Will 12-month payment plans be offered next year for STH who choose to ‘Renew For Life’? For the first time in our history in 2015 we offered a 6 part payment plan upon your renewal. This has been a very well received process and we plan to continue with that payment option as we go into the ‘Renew For Life’ program.
Why were our tickets for the playoffs so screwed up?  Why weren’t they on match pass, we were pointed to mobile entry and that didn’t work either. In 2014 with a lengthy time to prepare for playoff ticketing we were presented with challenges of enabling the MatchPass to be fully functional. Some of these issues led to lengthy delays for our fans in trying to get into the stadium missing some of the playoff action. This season in an effort to avoid such delays we transitioned to Print at Home or Mobile ticketing which so far has proven to be a much smoother process with far fewer fans being left out of the stadium. The reason for the change ultimately, was to improve the fan experience.
Why is the deposit on the “priority waiting list” for season tickets Non-refundable? Why not refund if requested, and not allow to rejoin the list? Our hope is to accept members onto the Priority List with the expectation that they will become future season ticket members. The Priority List provides non STM’s with the best priority to get on board with season seats, a slight pro-shop discount (not as much as an STM), and notifications when single match inventory is made available. If a Priority List Member decided not to purchase season tickets their options would be to: 1. Leave money on account and maintain their priority level for the following season, 2. Speak with a Sounders FC ticket rep and request a refund. Refund requests are considered and often times honored if a fan decides not to use the money towards other Sounders FC ticket options.
Why have the scarves been changed to say Alliance Member? That’s not why I get a scarf. If I gave up my tickets and bought a membership, no scarf. All season ticket members are a part of the Sounders FC Alliance and the name on the scarf is a nod to that membership.
Why did the Sounders discontinue the All-inclusive part of the season tickets in the respective sections? A common complaint from Club 1 members was that they didn’t care for the food, wouldn’t prefer to have it forced in their package, or didn’t like the quality. We felt it best to make Club 1 an area where fans can make the choice for themselves if they wish to purchase food or not purchase food.
Why can’t Matchpass point’s rollover to next season if not used up in 2015? A rollover would be a nice reward for renewing season-ticket members. It is common practice for loyalty points to not rollover year to year for professional sports teams.  Rolling points over each year would not result in an advantage on redeeming rewards – reward prices would have to continue to rise with the accumulation of points.  We like to focus on each season and allow fans to start fresh each season, providing tenure and seat bonus seats at the beginning of each year, in addition to other incentives to earn points right when the season begins.
Why are being required to pay for at least 2 extra tickets to 2nd level competition for next year, as we also had to do in the past? Champions League will continue to be an organizational priority.  We believe that this competition is important to advance in, and our ticket packages show that emphasis.
When it comes to ticketing, why are changes not communicated clearly to STM? When STM are informed, why is it usually last minute & obvious oversight? We are consistently trying to find the right methods of communication and timing to ensure our members have the information they need to have a pleasant experience at the matches. An example of what you may feel is ‘last minute’ would be the playoff ticketing experience. We built a plan in place to strongly communicate the use of Mobile/Print at Home well in advance. However, it would’ve been inappropriate to message that to fans prior to the team punching our ticket to the postseason which is why we waited for our notifications.
Why do I get so many emails? Thank you for subscribing to Sounders FC emails. Communication of key events, programs and ticket account related items is key. We try to consolidate emails as best as possible, however, many key items require standalone messaging. If there are types of emails you do not wish to receive, you can manage your subscriptions at the bottom of any email we send you.
Why can’t I have my S2 tickets on MatchPass? The MatchPass is pre-printed with seat locations which would only apply to one of the two venues and wouldn’t present as a seat identifier at Starfire Stadium which is part of the reason we did not go that route in 2015.
What is happening with the Club 209 and 235 all-inclusive meals? We are in the final stages of launching the food options for 2016 for the fans that wish to maintain a food option in the Verizon Lounge.
What is being done to return to the Open Stadium sell outs of 67K+ fans in the stands?  The energy level for those games are amazing. The growth of our full-stadium matches is a priority for the ticket sales team. We will continue working hard to grow attendance at our matches each season.
What is being done about reducing the continuing rise of ticket prices? We are conscious of where our ticket pricing stands amongst the league and amongst our local market and will continue to ensure we provide a great value for the product on the field
What efforts are being made to prevent scalpers from buying Season Tickets? We will continue to work with CenturyLink Field staff and security, as well as SPD, to monitor the ticket scalpers around the stadium. But along these fronts, Sounders FC has continued to decrease the number of tickets available to ticket brokers to ensure tickets wind up in the hands of Sounders fans.
What efforts are being made to have affordable Season Ticket sections that do not require standing? We do and we train our sales/service reps to work with our fans to get them in the areas best suited for their budget and their preferred viewing experience.
STM gets 10+ advertising emails for every 1 informative email, Why do we get spammed more than the other major Seattle sports franchises? Communication of key events/programs/ticket account related items is key. We try to consolidate emails as best as possible, however, many key items require standalone messaging.
Since the cost of season tickets have more than doubled since season 1 when will they stop going up. Much higher and I will have to give up my seats. We’ve been asked this each year and our answer is that we will consistently show slight increases across the board each year.
Re: match pass playoff tickets – you didn’t appear to have issues charging my credit card for the tickets.  What happened????? These are two completely different processes. Payment plans were built and ready for transactions upon clinching a playoff match. Tickets were provided via Mobile or Print at Home to alleviate pain points our fans had with the MatchPass cards in the 2014 MLS Playoffs.
Please explain the season ticket increase with the reduction in games provided? Last season we sold our renewals and new season tickets as 17 matches + 2 bonus matches. Upon clinching entry into CONCACAF we decided to include both Group stage matches while only charging for the 19 matches – an extra benefit for members who then received 20 matches at the price of 19.
Please consider improving the Match Pass “Rewards” or discontinue the program all together. Thank you for that feedback.  If you have specific ideas on what types of rewards offerings you would like to see, we’d love to hear them!  Please share that information with Alliance Council, as we’ll work with them closely in 2016 (as we have every season) to continue to grow reward offers in the direction fans desire.
Is a ticket trade program possible?  An exchange program where you could trade your seats with another ticket holders for a single match. Fans can swap tickets with other fans by forwarding tickets through My Account Manager or many fans who can’t attend matches find value in posting their seats for re-sell.
I was a little disappointed with the season ticket renewal process this year.  They have been very creative in the past with the ring, the menu, etc. With a major shift in our renewal process towards a Sounders ‘til I Die auto renewal system we felt that it was crucial for the renewal process and information to be educational and help our members understand the concept, while still providing a unique and clean interface to navigate.
I don’t find any of the matchpass reward options to be interesting/useful. Many are selling me things. How are you going to improve matchpass rewards? We are open to feedback from fans on what types of rewards would resonate most. Each season, we ask fans what they are looking for and the overwhelming response is always for matchday experiences and merchandise.  We increased the availability of both of those rewards this year.  If there is something else you would like, share it with an Alliance Council member (or become one!) and help us understand what you are looking for.
How did the “purchase” matchpass exclusive items option go? Seems like plenty of options to “buy” rewards but nothing to use my matchpass points on We consistently look for new ways to bring a wider variety of rewards each season.  The “buy now” options were less than 10% of the rewards we offered this year.  We are pleased with how they went, but will continue to focus the bulk of rewards on points or “enter to win” opportunities.
Can you resume the robo call reminding season ticket holders of home games? Communication with STM’s is important to us. If this is a preferred method to hear from us we will certainly be open to using this in the future.
Can we come up with more prizes that can be obtained with match-pass-points without having to spend 1000’s? As mentioned above, we are open to feedback from fans on what types of rewards resonate the most.  In addition, this year we offered more “free” rewards than ever before this season  – including popular matchday rewards that were never offered for points (High Five Tunnel for example)
Can you please explain the reason for a large increase in ticket prices and the reduction of a game? In 2015 you purchased the package on the premise of 19 matches being offered – it turns out we threw an extra one in at no charge. 2016 package remains the same – 19 paid matches. Last season we sold our renewals and new season tickets as 17 matches + 2 bonus matches. Upon clinching entry into CONCACAF we decided to include both Group stage matches while only charging for the 19 matches – an extra benefit for members who then received 20 matches at the price of 19.
Why won’t the club encourage sitting in the 100 level? $700/seat for essentially an obstructed view, discriminates against young/old/short. Sounders FC maintains a majority rules policy, which allows individuals within each section to determine how they want to enjoy the match as a majority.
Alliance Council: please blow up the matchpass rewards program!  The existing program rewards what? The same ten people every year? OK, kaboom!  Seriously, it would really be helpful if we engaged in a conversation about what you would like it to be. – Stephanie Steiner
The question would be why they changed the process for playoff tickets from committing game-by-game to having to commit to the entire run before we even know the schedule.  I have spoken to our ticket rep, who was not helpful at all The playoff Pay As We Play plan has been the same process we have had every season. If you would like to guarantee your seat location at the discounted season ticket member rate, you need to reserve your seat for the entirety of the playoffs. Similar to how you reserve your season ticket package, for the whole season, at the discounted rate without the schedule being released. Once a match is confirmed, you are only charged for the match confirmed. You are not required to opt into the Pay as We Play program, you are able to purchase tickets at the single game rate with what seats are available. However, to guarantee your seat location at the best rate, you do need to reserve the package through the Pay as We Play Program.
Why do the Sounders not send out informative emails to members who have designated as Alliance members? This is something we need to do more consistently. We are going to work on this during the off-season to determine a better solution.
ROSS/BROADCAST ROSS/BROADCAST
Why was Ross Fletcher’s contract not renewed after giving 4 years of exemplary service to the organization and the community?  He is much beloved Sounders FC prides itself on running a responsible and successful soccer business, and sometimes in business challenging decisions are required. This is one of those occasions, and unfortunately those on the outside won’t be able to learn all of the internal details that go into such a decision. Our organization isn’t in the habit of airing that type of information publicly and we’re not going to start doing that now.
Who made the decision to include audible advertisement during gameplay? This seems like a money grab and is very distracting regardless of timing. One of the things we admire about our fans is their passion and engagement with the club, and that relationship is one of the things that makes this organization so unique. It’s why we’re all here tonight at this meeting, and we respect your thoughts and passion on this subject. Ultimately you may not agree with every decision we make, but we hope that the organization’s track record over the past seven years affords us the opportunity to be judged by our long-term vision for the club’s broadcast operations.
Radio post-game & Sounders Weekly show have decline significantly since Jason Rantz began hosting. Why hasn’t he been replaced? We can’t do worse. What we can tell you is that we are committed to our broadcast products and our overall fan experience, and while there are some of you that may not agree with the decision, we are absolutely dedicated to furthering our league-leading broadcast experience. Our organization has demonstrated that commitment over the past seven years, and that’s not going to change now.
It’s been clearly stated Ross Fletcher wasn’t about money…It seems to be about quality…How much of an upgrade in quality should we expect? We are speaking to a variety of leading candidates for the broadcast play-by-play position, some that have national broadcast experience in our country and others that have an international background. We’re going to find the best person for that role and are prepared to commit the necessary resources.
How about bringing in Alexi Lalas as part of the new announcing team? We are speaking to a variety of leading candidates for the broadcast play-by-play position, some that have national broadcast experience in our country and others that have an international background. We’re going to find the best person for that role and are prepared to commit the necessary resources.
Can the team improve Sounders Weekly? Rantz is, frankly, less informed than me and treats fans as if they’ve never followed MLS.  Matt Johnson, 710? Thanks for your feedback.  Sounders FC is committed to setting the standard in broadcasting across MLS, both on television and radio.  We are evaluating our plans for both for 2016, with any change announced prior to the start of the season.”
Since the Sounders are making major changes in the broadcast team with the loss of Ross Fletcher, Does ownership plan on addressing the weakest link of the entire broadcast team, Jason Rantz? Thanks for your feedback.  Sounders FC is committed to setting the standard in broadcasting across MLS, both on television and radio.  We are evaluating our plans for both for 2016, with any change announced prior to the start of the season.”
Would Ownership consider allowing The Alliance annual or bi-annual “Votes of confidence” for each member of Sounders and KIRO broadcast crews for radio/tv pre/post game? Thank you for the idea.  At this time, there are no plans to add additional Alliance voting mechanisms for this area of our business.
GAME PRESENTATION/OPERATIONS/EXPERIENCE GAME PRESENTATION/OPERATIONS/EXPERIENCE
Why don’t we have more guess National Anthem singers/artists? We will continue to explore guest Anthem singers for the 2016 season.  We are currently evaluating the Anthem program to determine the best option moving forward.
Why doesn’t the band march with the fans before the game anymore? I liked it when they did. At various parts within the actual march, the chants from our supporters and the music from Sound Wave was competing against each other. Sound Wave continues to play in Occidental Part, in front of The NINETY, outside the NW gate, and in the North Plaza prior to matches.
Why do the clocks in CenturyLink not reflect added stoppage time? This is a policy from FIFA and not within our control.
Why are the North gates being kept closed after games this year? It has made a bottleneck of both the NE and NW gates, making it a hazard. We work directly with CenturyLink Field to find the most safe and efficient ways for fans to leave events. The North Gate flows directly into the North Parking Lot which created unsafe conditions for patrons as well as traffic challenges.
Why are the “groups” still allowed to use profanity as loudly as possible in their chants? Sounders FC continues to work with Supporter Groups to ensure their language is within the Fan Code of Conduct. We still have work to do on this front.
When there is play in front of the goal, thousands of fans are unable to see the action. Can the very large flags be moved away from behind the goal? Flags are only allowed within three sections at CenturyLink Field: lower 121-123. Within this General Admission section, supporter groups are allowed to use flags during the run of play. If these flags are influencing your ability to enjoy the match, please contact your service rep so we can remedy this immediately.
The national anthem performed by Dr. Stephen Newby is getting old and boring.  Isn’t it time we bring in young, talented artists to sing the anthem? We are currently evaluating the Anthem program to determine the best option moving forward.
So often security barely checks people going in. (Stuff is still easily passed through security. What can be done to actually secure the stadium?) Sounders FC are committed to providing the safest environment possibly through wanding and bag checks.
Same question, 4th year trying to get an answer: Will you please get rid of the vulgar/embarrassing monster truck rally fire breathing goal stanchions? The flame towers are a unique experience to Seattle and we have no plans to remove them any time soon.
Please get rid of the flame throwers? We don’t cheer for them, we go crazy for the goals. They’re tacky. No one likes them, more of an embarrassment. The flame towers are a unique experience to Seattle and we have no plans to remove them any time soon.
Is there any way we can further isolate Portland Timber fans so that they don’t throw beer and chant profanities the entire match? Sounders FC and CenturyLink Staff work directly with Portland Timbers staff and security to ensure that all fans can enjoy the match in a safe environment. Throwing beer is not tolerated in CenturyLink Field, and the individuals who did this in 2015 were removed from the stadium immediately.
Is there any intentions to upgrade the teams benches from the metal ones to a padded comfortable seat like most clubs around the league seem to use? This is something we are looking to implement for 2016.
Is there any chance of getting the Visiting section moved to the upper tier or Hawks Nest for all games? For operational reasons, moving the visiting supporters to the upper tier of the Green Zone is not ideal. We work with CenturyLink and visiting staff to identify the best location within the stadium to allow their fans to support without compromising any of our operational policies.
If you are not willing to end the “Give Your Full 90” standing obligation, can you please allow each section to vote on standing vs not standing? Sounders FC maintains a majority rules policy, which allows individuals within each section to determine how they want to enjoy the match as a majority.
I love the band playing before the game, during halftime and on the stairs…but please have them refrain during the games. Sound Wave currently only plays during corner kicks and after goals. But we will pass along this feedback as we are always seeking ways to improve our matchday experience.
How can we better work with Seattle Police Department to manage post-game traffic in order to ease bus wait times? We would love further specifics about your experience to communicate directly to SPD. The group that manages our matches are the same that oversee the Seahawks and Mariners matches.
How about better entertainment at halftime? We are constantly looking at ways to improve our halftime entertainment. This year we added in the Crossbar Challenge every match. We hope to have new entertainment for the 2016 season.
Can we turn down the volume of the stadium speakers at half time? We will look into the levels of music throughout the stadium and make sure the levels are optimal for everyone.
CenturyLink Fields signage is more and more Seahawksy every year. Can anything be done to make the stadium feel more like a home for both teams? The marketing groups of Sounders FC and Seahawks are in communication about signage at CenturyLink Field. We will continue to pursue options like we currently have in the Brougham Beer Hall that allow signage to be swapped between events.
Are we women fans going to have to buy clear bags for 2016? Currently this is not a policy that will be in place for 2016. But safety continues to be a huge priority and we will continue to lean on security experts about how to best provide a safe experience.
Can you work with DOT to use common sense in managing car pool lanes from Eastside: vs. L.A.-55,000 fans + a Neil Young concert and Carpool closed?! CenturyLink Field has a representative that meets with Seattle Department of Transportation, and will monitor the use of the express lanes to and from the stadium.
Any plan to take advantage of new UW light rail stop? (maybe block of *cheap* seats to sell/give students, like the new ones behind ECS on 300 level?) This light rail will be a great public transportation option once it opens next Spring.
Can we please amplify the Boom Boom Clap so that everyone can here it instead of the entry music that is played over the loud speaker? Unfortunately, we cannot as MLS protocol dictates that the MLS Anthem be played during the team procession.
Can you work to create a more efficient entry process into games? It’s worse than boarding a plane.  Better line management and ‘no bag’ lines? We are constantly trying to improve the ingress process. Throughout 2015, the NW, North, and NE gates were expanded, including the South gate for full bowl matches. Furthermore, a “shoot” system was installed outside the NW gate to make sure there was not a bottleneck of fans trying to enter the stadium. Swapping the order of wanding with bag checks also helped significantly.
Can we work with King County Metro to provide better bus service after games? This is something we plan to discuss in the offseason in hopes to provide more efficient bus services.
Can we get a clock that counts up during stoppage time in the stadium?  Why do I instinctively start my phone’s timer as the board goes up? This is a policy from FIFA and not within our control.
Can we get the pre-game and half-time Stadium sound lowered? The “music” blaring from those things, both at the CLink and at Starfire is so loud. We will look into the levels of music throughout the stadium and make sure the levels are optimal for everyone.
Any chance you can drop the horrible music that is piped in (over boom boom clap) when team walks on field? Unfortunately, we cannot as MLS protocol dictates that the MLS Anthem be played during the team procession.
Love taking the Sounder Train from Tacoma. Are there plans to run the trains to more games next season? Expanded trains during the week are difficult due to the rush hour schedule, but on weekends we will check to see what is available.
For the love of Soccer, WHY ARE FEWER ENTRANCES OPEN WHEN THE CROWD IS LARGEST? Why are side entrances closed at first kick? For full bowl matches, we expand the capacity of our normal gates with an additional gate open on the West side of the stadium.
Is Dr. Newby no longer leading the national anthem? All of us singing together has been our tradition; is that being replaced by guitar shredding versions? No way!!! We are currently evaluating the Anthem program to determine the best option moving forward.
Why did Staff Pro use @KingCoSheriff to ask @WeAreECS members to lower a flag in GA? Our stadium staff and Sounders FC personnel work directly with ECS leadership to best communicate during matches.
CONCESSIONS CONCESSIONS
Will CLink ever put some of the good food vendors in the club level? We are continuing to work closely with our stadium concessionaire on improving the quality and variety of food options within the stadium.
Why have the discounted beer prices before the game been limited to Budweiser? MatchPass will continue to work with our stadium concessionaire to find the right balance between discounted products that still fit with the overall business objectives of the organization. But the addition of the pub partnership program also provides an opportunity for Season Ticket Members to see monetary discounts outside CenturyLink Field not exclusive to matchday.
Why are our concession prices so much higher than other stadiums? The stadium and concessionaire conducts a price comparison to similar stadiums throughout the nation with a similar cost matrix. They then take this pricing matrix and their commodity costing into account when determining the price for particular items.  As many of you know the pacific northwest commodities are higher priced than 90% of the United States, these higher raw costs are a factor in some relatively higher price points when compared to other stadiums.
How about some pre-match discounts on non-alcoholic beverages? MatchPass will continue to work with our stadium concessionaire to find the right balance between discounted products that still fit with the overall business objectives of the organization.
Can the Sounders work to make CenturyLink more Seattle beer-centric to better connect with the culture and community here in the Pacific NW? Sounders FC and CenturyLink Field are working internally to expand our beer selections for 2016.
Can concession and other staff be given Sounders outfits to wear on game day as happens at other stadiums around the league? We encourage our front line staff to wear Sounders FC scarves and headwear.
Since Subway is obviously a major sponsor and supporter of the Sounders, why do they not have a concession inside the stadium? Subway has a franchise model, therefore in order to sell their product within the stadium, they would have to follow the necessary steps to establish this system
With regards to stadium vendors and the ease of accessing the concourses, are vendors walking up the aisles, blocking views necessary? Soccer is a free-flowing game with very few stops to grab a drink or something to eat. Stadium vendors is one way to provide an opportunity for fans to grab something without leaving their seat, but it should not influence your ability to enjoy a match.
MERCHANDISE/PRO SHOP MERCHANDISE/PRO SHOP
Why does it take the pro shop a week to customize a shirt (except on game day) when other shops can do it any day, the same day? The Pro Shop works closely with local vendors to customize jerseys. With a high demand of jerseys that come in for both teams through in-store purchases and online, they work hard to turn around jerseys in the quickest timeframe feasible.
When can we get official women’s jerseys? No weird neckline. Thank you, we will pass this feedback along to our merchandise partner, Adidas.
Is there a retro kit in our future? Not at this time.
If Adidas is truly changing to a new kit every year, will they start being sold before the winter holidays so they can be purchased as presents? Unfortunately, the timing of the creation, production and shipping of jerseys do not align with the holiday season.
MARKETING/BRANDING/COMMUNITY MARKETING/BRANDING/COMMUNITY
What percent of season ticket holders are women? While we don’t practice sharing specifics on any data points for our Season Ticket Members, our fan base generally skews more male than female.
Why don’t we change colors to green & black?  Black is more fearsome than bright blue & a much better contrast.  We look like frogs currently! We’re proud of the Sounders FC colors and brand and don’t anticipate making any changes to those at this time.  The third kit typically is a color outside of our normal brand colors.
When will there be greater opportunities for input into the colors selected for the third kit similar to how the club approaches the STH scarf? We currently work with Alliance Council on elements of each new kit.  Want to have input?  Join Alliance Council.
Does the organization have office where nonprofit organizations, 501C3.  can get either tickets, or merchandise for auctions and other fund We do have platforms for both ticket and merchandise donations for auctions. Our new ticket donation platform can be found on season ticket members Ticketmaster account and allows supporters to donate unused tickets to various non-profit organizations. In addition to deep engagement with partner community organizations, we also work hard to fulfill donation requests from other local, non-profit organizations whose values align with our own. Through this online donation platform, we will have fulfilled over 1000 requests by the end of 2015.
What efforts do we have underway to grow the sport in lower income in the Seattle region areas at the youth level. Our new community platform, United in Green, focuses mainly on youth development and providing opportunities for kids to experience the game who otherwise may not. We do this through a combination of our own programs and through partnerships with organizations already having a positive impact in that space. For example, our own Sounders in Schools program gives us the opportunity to visit elementary and middle schools, each of whom have been self-nominated and chosen because of challenges students currently face. In the visits, we talk to students about leadership and teamwork – in the context of soccer – as strategies they can use to help overcome challenges in their own lives.

Another example of SFC community efforts is a new partnership in 2015 is with Street Soccer Seattle, an organization that addresses youth homelessness through soccer and uses the game as a catalyst for positive change. In this context, SFC stands shoulder to shoulder with Street Soccer to empower and inspire youth to make positive choices and changes to improve their lives

COUNCIL/SCT/GM VOTE COUNCIL/SCT/GM VOTE
Does the Alliance foresee FO relocation between Qwest Stadium & Starfire as a way of controlling costs for reuse in game-day experiences? I’m having difficulty understanding your question. We don’t anticipate any FO moves.  – Stephanie Steiner
How does the Alliance intend to propose a vote on retaining the current GM, whom was just hired in January? This will be posted on November 13th by the Club and on the Alliance Council’s blogsite:  ssfcalliancecouncil.com.  – Stephanie Steiner
How does (or how will) the Alliance Council support the SCT? Presently, this is easy as there is overlap of many board members who are on SCT and are also on the Alliance Council.  However, they are entirely separate entities that will need to define ways of working together as SCT formalizes its working structure going forward.  Presently, the Alliance Council has no budget, but likely will in the future – sharing expenses instead of each paying for the same things separately is potentially a great way for both entities to save money and support each other.  There is a lot of brainstorming yet to happen on this topic. – Stephanie Steiner
How has the Alliance Council changed from the Cox regime to the Steiner regime? Steiner brings snacks for everyone.  That Cox guy never eats. =)  I’m certainly working on a cultural shift to create a Council with a workload that is more equally shared. I started this two years ago under the “Cox regime,” but I can’t say this endeavor is successful.  I think the Club should weigh in on what they notice.  – Stephanie Steiner
What is the GM voting procedure when a replacement GM is hired?  We just voted Hanauer back in, but he was replaced by Lagerwey This will be posted on November 13th by the Club and on the Alliance Council’s blogsite:  ssfcalliancecouncil.com.  – Stephanie Steiner
What is the relationship between the Alliance Council and the club? Is “democracy in sports” just a marketing tool? Alliance Council works with different departments of the Club at times, and independently at other times.  We have owner meetings three times annually, and mostly control the agenda (unless there is a specific topic owners need to bring to us). No, “Democracy in Sports”  isn’t just a marketing tool to owners – but the Alliance Council needs to do more and be more if it’s ever going to reach the potential envisioned. Dealing with the Front Office is another story: some people don’t want a strong Alliance, some respect the Alliance, and some have no idea what the Alliance and the Council are.  That’s a relationship that will always change and evolve.

The Alliance Council only met quorum five times this year, and that’s pretty average compared to prior years.  One meeting only had eight people in attendance.  Most of the accomplishments were contributed by only five people. I think if we expect to keep the ability to vote out/recall the position as important as a General Manager, we’re going to have to get more people consistently engaged, and bring more perspectives into each conversation. When we do that, we can take on bigger and bigger topics. – Stephanie Steiner

Why do the Sounders choose to have only an EOY business meeting which appeals to a small segment of fans, instead of a more inclusive type of event? The Annual Business Meeting has some structure outlined in the Constitution, but we’re all open to other possibilities.  This isn’t just a choice of “the Sounders,” it’s a choice by the Alliance Council as well to have a meeting when the most people are engaged with the season’s results.  A conversation has already begun about what it could become in 2016.  Have an idea?  Are you willing to work on it?  Nominate yourself for council.  – Stephanie Steiner
Post-split of operational shared services with Seattle Seahawks, does the Alliance see any areas which have improved or diminished fan experiences? I’m not sure if this is intended to be “the Alliance” or “the Alliance Council.”  I definitely notice respect for soccer, which wasn’t always the case before the split – now it’s the only reason for the office to exist, and there is no competition for sales dollars or advertising dollars within that office.  So I certainly hope that it makes a difference to their operation.  It’s a lean organization – they are not wasteful.  They are not perfect, but I can’t say that this is diminished from their time with Seahawks.  – Stephanie Steiner
Is the lack of a budget the biggest problem for the Alliance Council, and why won’t the Club give you one? No, it’s not our biggest problem. We don’t have a budget because we haven’t asked for one.  We won’t ask for one until we have rules establishing where the money comes from, establishing how it can be spent, and we have a council prepared to handle the budgeting and the funds in perpetuity. We can’t just solve it for one or two years.  Our biggest problem is that we have too many members waiting for “someone else” to do “it,” and not enough people moving projects forward.  The good news?  This is easy to fix with an engaged group of people that shows up regularly prepared to collaborate. Once that is solved, we can take on pretty much anything, and the Alliance will benefit from more perspectives involved.  But I’m not sure that a budget will be first on the list.  We have a major awareness challenge within the Alliance itself.  Not many Alliance members know what the Alliance or the Council is, and don’t know their role in it.  We know Alliance members are frustrated with MatchPass, with the conflict over standing/sitting, and with some of their ticketing interactions.  We don’t necessarily need a budget to take any of that on, I think I’d pursue solving those first.  – Stephanie Steiner
True or False – the Alliance Council is just a focus group for the owners? False.  Owners have expressed more than once their desires to see the Alliance Council get bigger and stronger. That’s not always the relationship with the FO, which will continue to evolve. – Stephanie Steiner
What was it like to negotiate the GM Vote agreement against Adrian? And vice versa? We wore chainmail every time and kept our hands back! =)  When Cameron Collins and I negotiated, it was with Taylor Graham and Maya Mendoza-Exstrom, not with Mr. Hanauer.  From my perspective, it was always “with,” and the word, “against” doesn’t apply. It was a collaborative effort to create a process that would work for both the Club and the Alliance.  -Stephanie Steiner
Why doesn’t the Alliance Council just have meetings on Saturdays when people can attend? We have had meetings on Saturdays, and every other day of the week.  We moved to Tuesday evenings after Council members chose the day.  Then we stuck with it so that it could be published and people would know what the meeting day was before they nominated themselves.  We didn’t have better attendance on Saturdays, before matches, or at any other time.  We have better attendance when people choose to make Council meetings a priority. – Stephanie Steiner
Please add MatchPass to our Sounders app so that we can scan our phones to enter the stadium instead of having to scan our Matchpass. We like this idea, too!  We’re currently exploring options to make MatchPass a more mobile-friendly experience.
Stephanie: what are your plans for the Council next year? Well first, let’s back up. Council terms are two years long, officer positions are elected annually. I have one year left on my term, so my plans are to be there. But some things that I hope the Council continues or I think are important are:  working with the club to get the details of Season Ticket Membership, club communication, and voting smoothed out; let’s make MatchPass easier; sitting/standing – how can we participate in that conversation? that question affects everyone; our blog site – this seems to have resonated well with Alliance members;  recruiting – we need to keep working on finding people who want to bring their ideas to Council and then to fruition. – Stephanie Steiner
I am a Founder’s Club Member and an S2 Season Ticket Holder (member?).  Am I an Alliance Member and if not, why not? It doesn’t sound like it: your email does not specify that you are a Season Ticket Member of the first team or that you purchased the membership.  Those are the factors which determine membership in the Alliance. – Stephanie Steiner
Why are Alliance members who use email, social media, expressing in person and other forms of communication with the Sounders FO and staff, not considered as valid as “phone calls”? (Adrian’s reference to “No phone calls” meaning indifference by fans, with a hundred or so upset fans sitting in front of him saying so) We want to hear from fans through all channels – including phone, email and social media and actively respond to any feedback through all of those channels.   We do not weigh one format over the other, however, we do encourage fans to call their account representative to build strong and personal relationships that allow us to help.
From supporters’ comments and as a member of the Alliance Council who works with Front Office personnel throughout the season, there is a perception that the FO is understaffed or is working on an extremely limited budget. Has there been an emphasis on cost-cutting or minimal staffing to save money? No, there has not been an emphasis on cost-cutting or staffing to save money.  Our staff grew a tremendous amount in 2015 and we look forward to another year of success and growth in 2016 with an emphasis on providing service and stellar experiences for fans.
OTHER OTHER
Will the Sounders be participating in the 2016 Diamond Desert Classic in Tucson? The team is currently scheduled to play three preseason friendlies in Tucson, but will not participate in the 2016 Desert Diamond Cup tournament.
When are we going to retire Kasey’s # already?! He’s HOF now! Thank you for that feedback.  We are currently not planning on retiring numbers within the stadium.
What is ownership’s stance on the effect that the Single-Entity business model is having on the growth of the league? This topic was addressed by Adrian Hanauer and Sounders FC ownership at the Alliance Annual Business Meeting.
What does the Club hope to do in the future to enhance opportunities for fans to travel for away games in the CCL competition? Sounders FC works closely with CONCACAF to ensure that fans have the opportunity to travel to away matches in a safe manner. Should you have interest in travelling to Mexico to watch Sounders FC vs. Club America, tickets can be purchased through the ECS website. Operations logistics are ongoing between Club America, Sounders FC, CONCACAF, and ECS.
What can the team, and alliance members, do to participate in improving the quality of MLS officials? MLS is allocating significant time and resources to improve the quality of referees. The best way for fans to participate in the improvement of MLS referees is to stay supportive of this process, trust the teams in their roles, and use social media or customer service channels when necessary to voice opinions.
Is it possible to offer more exposure to the Seattle Reign? This past season we partnered with the Seattle Reign and provided them access to the stadium on matchday, The Ninety for multiple events and support through other channels on social media.  We are excited to be partners with the Reign and look forward to a continue relationship with them.
How much turmoil is there in the sounders front office with the split from Seahawks and how is it affecting the team and operations? None – we continue to have a strong relationship with the Seahawks.
Why doesn’t MLS use Century Link for their All Star Game?  The stadium the biggest in MLS, and shows the world how popular soccer is in the USA. We’d love CenturyLink Field to be a host to the MLS All-Star game.  We look forward to the opportunity to work with MLS on this at some point in the future.
The reason I miss your important communications is that I’m tuning out all of your nonsensical ones.  No matter how much I want to hear about a match start change, I’m not going to want to win that car or change my tires. Those email communications aren’t linked in relevance no matter how badly you want to sell my email address.  If I promise to arrive inside the gates early like a good little fan and maybe even buy a hot dog, may we please have relevant opt-in and opt-out options? Thank you for your feedback on this.  We are already planning on having a more clear summary of opt-in and opt-out of our subscriptions in 2016.  We currently offer the ability to do this, but understand that fans have been confused about the best ways to manage their subscriptions.   Email communications with our fans are important to us.

The formatting challenges in the table above are due to the limitations of the blogsite theme: it wasn’t designed for tables, and posting an image of a table made it impossible to read since this one is huge. So, that one isn’t on the Sounders: the chart they sent was fine. It’s an issue with this page that I just can’t fix. But I’d rather you get the information than wait forever for me to change the blogsite theme – I’m not buying a new one anytime soon.  Thanks for understanding.

Note Saturday, January 16th, 2016:  I’ve received several communications asking me who on the Sounders side of things answers these questions.  I don’t know, I assume the questions are answered by several people and bounced around among the applicable departments. I don’t think it’s all done by one person. – Stephanie Steiner