April 16th, 2017
By Karl Picard
The initial part of the meeting was reviewing the corporate partnerships with the Front Office and Michael Shockley (VP of Corporate Partnerships) and Allison Smyrl (Director of Partnership Marketing).
We discussed some of the new partners and how the key to these relationships is to align with the their vision, values, and objectives. They continue to grow their top partnerships around key elements like jerseys. They have a range of partners from the large ones like XBOX to much smaller ones. But all partnerships need to make sense and provide value to the Club. They look at things from both a book value and a market value based on the brand, they try not to make it transactional but more buying into the Sounders and their fans and the overall experience. There are limited edition Coke cans that have been released to celebrate the MLS Cup.
Up next was the discussion around the constitution. The first one was around Article 4 which dealt with our General meeting and membership in the Alliance. After some initial word-smithing , the article was approved and passed. This completed the constitution article changes by the council which is a great accomplishment.
Next up was to review changes to the Supporter Group bylaw (which was reviewed and commented on by representatives of the 4 supporter groups). The main focus was to remove any de-recognition of any supporter groups. There was also clarification of the requirements to be recognized which didn’t change fundamentally, essentially show leadership, at least 25 members, participation in group activities to support the club, and be a corporate or charitable entity.
Next up was discussing some issues that have been reported around Gate issues. Some of these are inconsistencies with what people are experiences, and mostly with women and the purses or clutches. It’s hard to determine if these are isolated issue or bigger issues. If you put smaller bags in the clear totes you need to make sure it meets the guidelines. Tablet cases are OK but if they have keyboards those are not allowed from what we can tell. Be sure to let the Sounders know if you have negative experiences, include some details and the gate when you have the issue (Twitter is the best as they can potentially deal with it at the game). Look for a blog post on this with more details coming soon.
We had some open discussion where we reviewed the Initiatives and Programs of the Alliance Council in 2017, moving the July 4th meeting to July 11th, potentially having longer meetings as needed to address work items, and ensuring working groups are providing status at the meetings around progress and updates.
That’s all for this month. Be sure to comment or let us know your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter or right here on the blog.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL
February 7, 2017 – 6:30 PM – The NINETY
Present (11 of 15): Nicholaus Biela, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Michael Dollard, Alex Eagleton, Darla Langdon, Jeremy Monsivais, Daniel Roe, Stephanie Steiner, Kristina Vaughn, and Steve Wilson.
Via telephone (2): Roberta King and Karl Picard.
Absent (2): Bill Kaczaraba & Eric Flatness.
I. Call to order – Stephanie Steiner
II. Roll – Cameron Collins: 11 of 15 Present
III. RAVE Foundation
Ashley Fosberg. Executive Director of the RAVE Foundation came to the Alliance Council meeting and recapped RAVE’s programs. She told the Council that RAVE received $12,000 in December as they were glassybaby’s charity of the month. Relatively soon, The Sounders will even have their own glassybaby candle that they can sell in the Pro Shop.
Ashli Brown, Michael Johnson, and Dawn Wheeler from concessions came to the council to discuss the changes coming to concessions. The Alliance Council was able to try some of the food and met the new Executive Chef, who comes over to CenturyLink from Safeco Field. The Seahawks have decided that they don’t want a concessionaire and, as such, they will do it themselves. They have created First and Goal Hospitality.
→ 2017 Concessions Goals
– Food quality and selection. Focus on local.
– More food and beverage combos.
– Beer matrix and strategically placing brands where the fans want it.
– Vending. Food and beverage items that fans want.
→ Executive Chef Michael Johnson
The key to his move from Safeco Field was the promise that the concessions would have a focus on sustainable and local. In the last 8 months, they have tripled the amount of local businesses with whom they do business.
– Sustainability: Compost from the stadium will go to Cedar Grove Compost and then will be used on a farm in Redmond. They will grow all the vegetables for the stadium. They will also have bees and will produce honey. If they have too much food in this process, the plan is to donate the excess to local food banks. The crops are being planted in the next 10-15 days.
→ 2016 Concession Specific Fan Survey
– Fans are looking for more variety.
– Fans are looking for speed of service.
– Fans are looking for better quality. Not as concerned with pricing.
Because like the team is dedicated to tickets and food for a family being available for under $100, there will be more family packs and combos to help achieve this goal.
→ The Beer Matrix
* 2015 – 95% draft
* 2016 Sounders Matches – 89% draft
– Domestic vs. Premium in concessions
* Specialty stands will only be selling premium beer
– Local craft brand opportunities
* Georgetown Brewery (Manny’s), Alaska, Mack n Jacks, Black Raven, Ghostfish, & more
* They will also be partnering with Seattle Cider
→ Community Concessions Program
They will take a cross-section of of Seattle and bring it in to CenturyLink. They will have a range of unique items that are just at CenturyLink Field and replica items that are available. They have been out to Eastern Washington to meet with many ranchers and growers. CenturyLink is already ranked #1 in the MLS in terms of food.
– 2016 Partners:
International District: Hue Ky Mi Gia & Pho Cyclo
Pioneer Square: Rain Shadow & Kraken Congee
Pike Place Market: Beechers & Uli’s Sausage
→ Questions and comments from the Alliance Council
– Vegetarian & Vegan Options: Cameron Collins spoke on vegans options and the ways that the extenuating circumstances that made the vegan food fail at Safeco Field. He also asked that they make the ingredients of the food available at the various concessions and grab and go stands. They said that ingredients will be available, will have food maps, and will do a better job of educating employees on the various food options.
Martin Buckley spoke on the lack of quality in the vegetarian options and expressed hope that they would be improved moving forward. He also spoke on the hope that the options will be better advertised to fans. Taylor Graham said that the Sounders are dedicated to communicating those options.
– Beverage Selection: Stephanie Steiner made a request for better non-alcoholic beverage options and cited a the growing concern about the coming diabetes epidemic. Coke, as the beverage partner, could hopefully help move this forward.
– Local Alcohol Options: Alex Eagleton spoke on the hope that the Sounders could incorporate local wines in to the fold.
→ Other plans moving forward
– The chefs want to be visible during the matches. This can help them better connect with the consumers and let them receive comments and criticism directly.
– There will be some more concessions that are sold in the stands directly to the fans. For example, Papa Johns. The Sounders want to be sure this does not become so prevalent hat it gets in the way of the game, though.
– As they moved over from the previous concessionaire to creating their own, one of the keys was keeping a lot of the staff on board. They hope to continue to grow as an organization this way.
– For suites, they are streamlining the menu and making it better.
– They are investing in the back of the house and hope to continue to grow the equipment in order to increase quality.
– The food trucks will continue to be in the North Plaza during the matches
V. Constitution Articles
A) Article 6: Honorary Chairman (First Reading) – Stephanie
→ adds process, removal, and duties to 6.1 of the Honorary Chair. Makes it clear that if we don’t do this, it does not technically preclude us from doing anything listed here, but will make it easier for future councils. By adding (s) to the title, it means we can name multiple people, like the entire team. This puts it out there so future councils will know even when all of us are gone.
→ Why the executive committee should have the ability to remove the distinction, beyond the power of the council as a whole, is that it lets the EC act immediately, instead of waiting until the next meeting, when it could be necessary to act. Like they are convicted of drunk driving, commit some other egregious act.
→ “The executive shall make best efforts to survey the council for input prior to voting outside of a regular Business Meeting. ” added to 6.1.2 in case the executive committee needs to act (see above)
→ Other small tidying up done to ensure language follows rest of constitution
B) Article 8: Supporter Groups (Second Reading) – Stephanie
→ There was discussion on how the language in the article as previously amended lacks definition to make clear who an “affected” supporter group would be. In the end, however, because there is a group coming together to come to a solution for Bylaw 7, most feel it is likely irrelevant.
Vote to make amendments to Article 8 passes unanimously 11-0.
→ Language added to the Article to make clear the Front Office determines Supporter Group sections, not the Alliance Council.
Motion to amend Article 8 is seconded.
Amendments to Article 8 passes 11-0.
Vote to pass Article 8, as amended, passes 11-0.
VI. Alliance Council Initiatives for 2017
The Alliance has collected these initiatives from various sources, including email, social media, in person, and any other way fans choose to communicate with members of the Alliance Council. Undoubtedly, more initiatives will come in to existence throughout the year.
→ Memorializing “The Save” (Nick willing to take lead of Save Project, Cameron willing to hop on as backup.)
→ Hosting MLS Cup & What will happen to Season Ticket Holders (Stephanie is lead)
→ Replacement/Elimination of Bylaw 7 (Supporter Groups) (Martin is lead)
→ High-Level council recruiting (Stephanie is lead, but everyone can help)
→ Constitution (Stephanie is lead)
→ Exploring Non-Profit Status (Martin is lead)
→ Updating soundersfc.com (Stephanie is lead)
→ Budget and Resources (Martin is Lead)
→ Rebuilding Website (Martin is Lead)
→ Visibility and Marketing (Karl is lead. Cameron is on board to help.)
→ To-Do List for the Council (Stephanie is lead)
→ Procedure for Designating Votes and concern that people will not be using the app this year (Cameron is lead)
VII. Open Discussion
→ Kristina plans to touch base with Mikaela on the Scarf Vote, how it went last year, and how it can get better. The Council hopes to streamline the process on our end so it is not as rushed.
→ Season Ticket Holder packages were pushed back because of the newly designed box for MLS Championship and will be coming soon.
Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.
photo by Karl Picard
March 25th, 2017
by Karl Picard
Our meeting was March 7th, and included nearly an hour of conversation with the Sounders’ marketing team. The first half of the meeting was a presentation and Q&A with Vice President of Marketing, Kyle Sheldon. They reviewed the look and feel of the schedule posters and banners for the stadium. They have put an emphasis on the Rave Green – back to basics for marketing. One other thing they have prioritized is standardizing things across all elements from banners to graphics and between different channels from web to mobile to different social platforms to provide a better experience to the consumer. Their focus is on local growth but thinking globally as well. We reviewed some of the work around the season ticket box and delivery including the Golden ticket promotion.
There will be a few new things, too. They will be deploying signs on game day to help fans experience all the game day events and activities. There is now a printed match day program (also available digitally) with a focus on the storytelling: March has articles on both The Save and Brian Schmetzer. The last thing we covered was the surprise: getting the giant MLS Cup, the very one from the match in Toronto, for the season. At the time of the meeting they were still working out the details but as many of you saw it is currently sitting behind section 124. Darla Langdon and Alex Eagleton are the follow-up team for marketing.
After a quick break, we moved on to a review of Articles including the Honorary Chair secondary reading. The article was voted on and passed unanimously. Next up was Article 4 and dealing with when the Annual Business Meeting can be held. The requested change is to ensure we can review the regular season that has just concluded rather than have it scheduled in the beginning of the season or some other time. We discussed the verbiage around how we deal with any changes to the MLS schedule. The discussion went into the ability of the Council to put on the Business Meeting without the help of the Sounders front office. Final was the updates to Bylaw 7 (Supporter Group) which was discussed with 4 different representatives from Supporter Groups (changes stemmed from the proposed updates to the constitution in October).
We discussed steps to take should Stars for All not receive full support from the league. Luckily, we got a temporary solution shortly after the last meeting. We will continue to work for a resolution where all teams going forward will have #StarsForAll.
That’s all from March. There is also the video recap with Martin and Cameron posted. Sorry for the delay in getting this version out, life got in the way this month.