Meeting Minutes: July 2017

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

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.

VII. Adjournment

Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.

Meeting Minutes: June 2017

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

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.

VII. Adjournment

Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.

Meeting Minutes: May 2017

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

May 2, 2017 – 7:00 PM –  The NINETY

Present (13 of 16): Nicholaus Biela, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Alex Eagleton, Eric Flatness, Bill Kaczaraba, Roberta King, Darla Langdon, Jeremy Monsivais, Karl Picard, Stephanie Steiner, Kristina Vaughn, and Steve Wilson.

Via telephone (1): Daniel Roe.

Absent (2): Nick Biesold and Mike Dollard.

I. Call to order – Stephanie Steiner

II. Roll – Cameron Collins: 13 of 16 Present

III. Community Outreach: Kimberly Aigner, Director of Community Outreach; Ashley Forsberg, Executive Director, RAVE Foundation; and Katie Pendleton, Community Outreach Coordinator

The outreach campaign of the Sounders has been broken down in to several parts.

1.     LEAD: Drive awareness and engagement around key community initiatives throughout the year. There are three leadership pillars that they are focusing on this year.

→ GIVE BIG: Seattle Foundation’s event. It allows the Sounders to support 1700 nonprofits under one umbrella. The event is scheduled for May 10th. Sounders will be participating at the May 6th match, where many nonprofits will be present. The Seattle Foundation will be giving out $350,000 on May 10th.  At that match, one fan will be picked and $2500 will be given to their nonprofit of choice from those 1700.

·       Every single player on the team, as well as Coaches Schmetzer and Pineda, have chosen a nonprofit for GIVE BIG.  Examples: Gustav Svensson: Seattle Parks Foundation, Stefan Frei: RAVE Foundation, Cristian Roldan: America Scores Seattle. Brad Evans: Seattle Humane. Each player will sign their game worn boots or get a ball to give to a nonprofit. Each nonprofit chosen by the players will be given 10 tickets to the friendly on July 8th.

·       Every staff member in the Sounders Front Office has been asked to pick a nonprofit as well.

→ PRIDE: The Sounders want to go beyond the in-stadium events. The Sounders’ Pride match this year is June 21st. They will raise awareness for LGBTQ equality. The Sounders will be playing Orlando City, who also support making Pride a large event.

→KICK CHILDHOOD CANCER: The Sounders work with a lot of local childhood cancer organizations throughout the year. The match for Kick Childhood Cancer is Sept 11th against Vancouver.

2.     SERVE

→ Monthly service opportunities for the Sounders’ staff. Examples: Working with JUMA at Mariners Opening Day where they raised over $12,000; Earth Day service projects where staff made a Rain Garden at a local school.

→ Supporting player initiatives. Examples: Jordan Morris works with kids who have Type 1 Diabetes; Brad Evans works with animal organizations; Cristian Roldan works with America Scores.

3.     INVEST: The Sounders use the RAVE Foundation as a means to invest in the community. Through RAVE, the Sounders are building accessible soccer fields in urban areas that provide free play to shape young citizens and strengthen communities.

→ Invest in Programming: Beyond soccer programming, the Yesler community has said that they want art programming. RAVE is creating an art program called Goals for Art that Stef Frei will also be involved with. They will work with the community to be a true partner and help with the art. Yesler Place field will open in late summer 2018.

→ Target Communities: South Park, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Yesler, Lake City, White Center, Burien, SeaTac, Des Moines, Tacoma. Investing in these communities beyond the fields.

→Question from Martin Buckley: Is there a plan to move East of the Mountains and work with communities there? A: Yes, they hope to be able to do that in the future.

→ Different types of programming that ask, “How can soccer help?”: Octagon to have pop up play for kids anywhere. One ball program where they give kids a ball, which has now been increased to 10,000 balls. Programming to Help with Middle School students and using the Sounders media team as an asset to provide a workshop style sports media institute in the month of July that will bring in kids from the target RAVE communities.

RAVE’S CORE PARTNERS: Soccer for Success, America Scores, Street Soccer Seattle, Special Olympics Washington, and Latino Community Fund Washington State.

IV. Council Initiatives

A.    GM Vote: A leader is needed for the GM Vote group and those involved with the previous GM Vote need to be polled on what worked for that vote and what did not work. Nick Biela volunteers to be lead. Martin Buckley volunteers to help.

B.    Stars for All – Martin Buckely & Stephanie Steiner: There should be more information coming on the long term solution. The Sounders play against Portland at the end of the month, so the Council may want to begin a conversation with their fanbase, as they were denied their stars as well.

C.    Matchpass Rewards: 20% of the proceeds from Matchpass Rewards were designated in 2016 to be given to the Alliance Council for charitable spending. This amount is just under $7,000. The Council must decide to which charitable organization they wish to donate these funds. This will be lead by Darla Langdon and Bill Kaczaraba.

D.    SoundersFC.com: The Alliance Council information on the Sounders FC website has been updated.

E.    “The Save”: Nick Biela has been researching the possibility of memorializing “The Save.” Nick has sent out letters to the Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, and Seattle Mariners to learn about their process in making statues. This is just one of many options. The Sounders Front Office has cautioned against a full-fledged statue, since they do not own the stadium.

F.    Hosting MLS Cup & Ticketing Issues: If the Sounders were to host the MLS Cup Final, many Alliance Members would be displaced due to the amount of tickets required to be allotted for the MLS. The Front Office is aware that the Council wishes to be a part of this conversation when it arises.

G.   Non-Profit Status – Martin Buckley: There is a worry that if the Council were to pursue non-profit status, it would be creating a work deficit for future Councils. There were be a proposal/recommendation at the June meeting as to whether to pursue this idea.

H.   Rebuilding Website: The new Alliance Council site is completely rebuilt and live.

I.      Vote Designation – Martin Buckley & Cameron Collins: The Sounders agree that “one ticket, one vote” across the board, regardless of whether a seat is designated, is the best option. The Council and Sounders will message on how to designate seats within an account when Alliance Council voting flips on June 1.

J.     Constitution – Martin Buckely: The Constitution work has been completed and the Council will work with the Club on how best to execute the Alliance-wide vote to ratify the Constitution. The hope is that this vote will take place in June.

K.   Annual Business Meeting – Martin Buckley: There is a conversation currently taking place as to whether the Meeting continues as an in-person event as it has in the past or whether it becomes an online event where people can stream at home an engage directly with the event during the stream.

L.    To-Do List – Stephanie Steiner: Council President Stephanie Steiner is currently compiling a book with all important dates and processes for the Council. This will be sure that future Councils are aware of all important dates and deadlines throughout the year, and ensure smooth transitions of power.

M.  10-year Anniversary of the Alliance: Next season is the ten-year anniversary of the Alliance. The Council will begin a conversation on how best to commemorate this anniversary. Roberta King has volunteered to lead this group.

V. Meeting with Gary Wright, Sounders Consultant (previously Senior Vice President of Business Operations and Senior Vice President)

Council President Stephanie Steiner and Council Vice-President Martin Buckley met with Sounders Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer and Club Consultant Gary Wright. Gary will work as a liaison between the Council and the Club, to help a productive relationship moving forward. He hopes to make the Alliance Council stronger, larger, and even more representative of the Alliance as a whole.

VI. Open Conversation

A.    Council Perks: There are opportunities that the Club may offer to the Council which have a limited number of slots for attendance. How does the Council set the criteria for who may attend? In the past, it was often done on a first-come first-served manner, but this may be a disadvantage to those who are not available at any given moment to respond to an email. Is there a way to reward those who are giving the most time and effort to the Council? Should this be a weighted drawing? An allocation Order?

B.    Council Participation: Council Secretary Cameron Collins will create a spreadsheet with a list of the Council Committees and their leaders and members. This will provide a better opportunity for those who wish to participate. This document will be posted in the Council Google Drive.

C.    Locker Checks: Darla Langdon and Alex Eagleton looked in to the non-official locker checks that have popped up around the stadium. Many of them were being offered by the food vendors along Occidental.

D.    Buttons: For small events, Cameron Collins and Nick Biela will be able to make Alliance buttons. For larger events, the Council may need to look in to funding the mass-production of buttons.

E.    Garage Sale: Cameron Collins will speak with the Club about the possibility of the Council sponsoring the annual Garage Sale held by the Sounders.

VII. Adjournment

Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.

Meeting Minutes: April 2017

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

April 4, 2017 – 7:00 PM –  The NINETY

Present (14 of 16): Nicholaus Biela, Nick Biesold, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Michael Dollard, Alex Eagleton, Eric Flatness, Bill Kaczaraba, Roberta King, Darla Langdon, Jeremy Monsivais, Karl Picard, Stephanie Steiner, and Kristina Vaughn.

Via telephone (2): Daniel Roe and Steve Wilson.

Absent (0): None

I. Call to order – Stephanie Steiner

II. Roll – Cameron Collins: 14 of 16 Present

III. Corporate Partnerships — Michael Shockley, Vice President of Corporate Partnership and Allison Smyrl, Director of Partnership Marketing

A.    Introductions

→ Michael came from the Sacramento Kings. Before that he was with the Phoenix Suns.

→ Allison came from Seahawks.

B.    Background on Partnerships: Playing in CenturyLink field there is quite a bit of partnership integration. There are about 80 partners this year, ranging from XBOX, Delta, Toyota, Virginia Mason, Fred Meyer, Delta Dental, and many more.

C.    New Partners for 2017: Boeing, Dannon, El Riconsito, Wells Fargo, Charles Schwab, City MD, Darigold, Uber, Proliance Surgeons, Pendleton Whisky, Uber.

D.    2017 Objectives

→ to nurture and grow a vibrant sales culture that embraces teamwork, the partnership building process, and effective communication.
→ to strategically grow our top partnerships through capitalizing on marquis elements and developing platforms that authenticate our partners’ objectives.

Corporate Partners aren’t buying ads or official sponsorships, they are buying in to the Sounders brand and those items they receive in return are more incidental. They are also selling the Sounders brand to the public.

E. Question From Alliance Council Members

→ Question from Cameron Collins on the backlash to the relationship with Uber and whether they had taken current events in to account when finalizing the relationship. Conversations with the partners begin years before and come to fruition over time. There were definitely conversations in the Font Office about the relationship due to the ongoing #DeleteUber campaign, but in the end the Partnership was made. The Sounders maintain the ability to end a Partnership in certain instances that would cause the Partnership to be detrimental to the Club.

→ Question from Kristina Vaughn on how often the Sounders reevaluate branding, using the example of the “StubHub Season Ticket Member of the Match” when we are Alliance Members, not Season Ticket Members.  The Front Office believes that it is an ongoing process and as they receive input they can attempt to make changes and anticipate other changes that might be beneficial.

IV. Goodbyes and Introductions

A.    Eric Flatness: Eric is living in Thailand and has been unable to attend a meeting this year until now. He announces that as of today he is going ex-officio. He is thankful to have been a part of the Council and will miss us a lot. He hopes to be able to call in to some meetings in the future.

B.    Nick Biesold: Nick is our newest Council Member. He has wanted to be on council for a while. At his new job there are a lot of Alliance Members, and he was finally able to get his votes to get on the Council. He was never a big soccer fan until college, and now he travels the world going to games. In 2009, he went to a game, got to meet Sounders Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer, and then immediately decided he wanted to have tickets.

V. Constitution & Bylaws

A.    Article 4, Section 4.2: General Meeting (Second Reading) – Stephanie Steiner

→ Motion to amend language stating “meeting shall be schedule” to “meeting shall take place” for clarification purposes. Seconded.

Vote to amend Article 4, Section 4.2 passes unanimously, 12-0.

→ Motion to vote on new Article 4. Seconded.

Vote on Article 4, as amended, passes unanimously 12-0.

B.  Bylaw 7: Supporter Group Recognition (Second Reading) – Martin Buckley

→ Rewritten bylaw that was designed by representatives of each Supporter Group. The meeting attendees were Martin Buckley (Alliance Council), Tom Conquergood (Gorilla FC), Brian Dilks (Eastside Supporters), Glenn White (Emerald City Supporters), and Steve Wilson (North End Faithful).

→ Motion to vote. Seconded.

Bylaw 7 passes unanimously, 12-0.

→ Cameron Collins asked the Council to recognize Martin Buckley for his hard work on this issue and bringing supporter groups together to come up with a long-term solution to the problem.

VI. Issues for Fans Entering the Stadium – Darla Langdon

→ People are still having issues entering the Stadium. Some people are purposefully testing the rules. One thing that needs to be made clear, and this is on the Sounders to message this, is that a clutch must still fit within the size regulations for a clutch, even if it is placed inside of a bag. This is in the fine print, but is not clear from the images they use. It needs to be spelled out more clearly.

→ There needs to be better signage about the rules, more consistency from the staff (as they often do not know the rules), and less attitude from the staff. It is not our fault that we often have to teach the staff the rules. CONSISTENCY. TRAINING. CUSTOMER SERVICE.

→ Tampons are an example of how the rules can be arbitrary. You cannot have tampons lose in the clear bag, they cannot be in a box (because it is typically too large), but you can have them secured in the bag. If it fits in a properly sized clear bag, why should it not be allowed?

→ They will not allow anything in that has a keyboard. Even though tablets ARE allowed, you cannot bring any keyboard that might attach to it. This has not been communicated by the Club and fits nowhere in the rules beyond a barely applicable catchall. This must be communicated to the fans immediately and be added clearly to the posted regulation on signs and in line.

VI. Initiatives, New Business, and Open Discussion

A.    GM Vote: The next vote is coming up next year and Council needs to start preparing for it now. Roberta King and Dan Roe were on Council during the last GM Vote and will write up what they feel worked and what didn’t work last time.

B.    Non-Profit Status: Martin Buckley thinks it may be best to push this until next year. To carry this out this year would take a lot of council energy. It would put a lot of requirements upon us, and there may not be enough people to carry the weight.

→ After discussion, the Council is not ready to table this issue just yet, and will begin the conversation of the costs and benefits of becoming a non-profit and becoming separate from the Sounders organization. Martin Buckley, Alex Eagleton, and Mike Dollard will delve further in to the idea.

C.    Rescheduling the July Meeting: The July Meeting falls on the Fourth of July, and thus needed to be rescheduled. After looking at the Sounders schedule, the meeting will be held on the 11th of July.

D.    Meeting Length: Because of the presentations by the various departments of the Sounders Front Office at our Meetings, Council Meetings have been running over time. After discussion on whether to start earlier, go later, or run a parallel meeting on another date, the Council is in favor of starting earlier when necessary.

E.    Ticketmaster & Resale: Mike Dollard brought up that it is not intuitive on the Ticketmaster website how to find the tickets that are being put up for resale by the fans. It seems that this portion is being de-emphasized by Ticketmaster, where the site favors tickets that are new sales. Others have had issues selling tickets through the system.

→ On the Ticketmaster site, you must actively turn on the button that include resale tickets with the new tickets for sale. The website to go directly to resale tickets is located at: http://www.ticketexchangebyticketmaster.com/seattle-sounders-fc

F.    New Profiles on Website: Each Council Member should send Martin Buckley an update picture and profile for the Alliance Council Website

G.   Locker Check: The locker check is not efficient and they do not seem to have enough people working for them for the amount of people who are in line. People are missing first kick because of how slow the lines move. There also seems to be a locker check that is not affiliated with the Sounders, which should be looked in to.

VII. Adjournment

Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.

 

Meeting Minutes: March 2017

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

March 7, 2017 – 7:00 PM –  The NINETY

Present (13 of 16): Nicholaus Biela, Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Michael Dollard, Alex Eagleton, Bill Kaczaraba, Darla Langdon, Jeremy Monsivais, Karl Picard, Daniel Roe, Stephanie Steiner, Kristina Vaughn, and Steve Wilson.

Via telephone (0): None.

Absent (3): Nick Biesold, Eric Flatness, and Roberta King.

I Call to order – Martin Buckley

II Roll – Cameron Collins: 13 of 16 Present

III. Marketing – Kyle Sheldon, VP of Marketing and Megan West, Senior Director of Marketing & Digital

 A. 2017 Look & Feel

 – Updated schedule posters will be in the market early next week and installed on the north side of the stadium. Going for a back to basics look and focusing on Rave green.

– Updated pole banners in the stadium. Similar look and feel as above to create consistency across marketing.

– Digital and social graphics: Trying to serve the fan and provide as much info as possible. Hired a new graphic designer who has motion and GIF experience, and they will utilize those skills in the coming year to stay up with social media trends. They now have a team of 3.

–   No new theme, but they will be doing 2-3 week campaigns that will focus on celebrating the championship.

– They want to make assets specific per channel with consistency across platform

B. Innovation: Marketing

 Creating digital content that focuses on why people should be at the match (championship banner raising for first match, etc.)

– Trying to optimize content for the channel it is on (Facebook vs Twitter vs Snapchat etc. / Desktop vs mobile).  Investing more time in to video production in general.

 C. Collaboration: Season Ticket Members Box and Golden Ticket

 – They worked across different departments to implement the campaign. Golden Ticket was with marketing, ticketing, players, and more. They will continue this trend in the future.

D. Innovation/Collaboration: Matchday Experience

 The Sounders can continue to do a better job in how to maximize participation of the fan. They will be providing maps with info on Matchday including 1) March to the Match, 2) The NINETY, 3) Soccer Celebration, and 4) The Pro Shop.

– They will be putting signs throughout the Pioneer Square area that provide information on where an event is and when it happens. There are 4 going out: two at the March, one at The NINETY, and one in North Plaza.

– The Sounders have done a complete reset of most of the marketing in the stadium. LED displays and jumbo display have updated graphics and images. They made it look more modern and more like their current brand. Similar lines, look and feel, and colors to all of the marketing materials.

– They are trying to bring home the giant trophy that was on the field prior to the MLS Cup. They have made the request to the league. Because it is 20+ feet tall, it is a challenge to find a place in the stadium. They hope to do it, but it is a matter of logistics. Potentially on the South side of the stadium.

– Going back to a print edition program on match day. Deeper storytelling showcasing players. It will be a monthly edition rather than match specific. It will be available digitally online and in the app. There will still be roster cards like the player posters from the end of last season.

– There will again be bag lockers with a $10 fee per object

– The Marketing Department will publish the kit being worn for the next match prior to Matchday. Will be at least the day before.

  E. Question From Alliance Council Members

→ Non-English Speaking market and marketing question from Martin Buckley. Everything they do right now is in English. In Seattle, the average age of the Latino population is 24, and the individuals tend to be second generation. most of the research shows that the preference of those individuals is to consume in English. They view doing marketing in other languages as for an international market. They are hoping to create some more content with the Spanish speaking players, but they are not at that point yet

Questions on archiving audio and having a match broadcast audio podcast (like they used to) and making the post-game show available as a podcast from Cameron Collins, Karl  Picard, and Nick Biela. The team will looking in to these ideas and will see what they can do about them.

→ Question about how much of the current marketing flows down to S2 from Martin Buckley. Some of it flows down. Similar types of coverage but not as comprehensive. It is a challenge to create enough content FOR S2. Sounders Community Trust are making one of their focuses this year highlighting players and stories from the team.

 IV. Constitution & Bylaws

 A. Article 6, Section 6.1: Honorary Chairman (Second Reading) – Stephanie Steiner

→ We already have the powers that are laid out in this new suggested language, but it clarifies the processes involved going forward.

Vote on Article 6, as amended, passes unanimously 13-0.

 B. Article 4, Section 4.2: General Meeting (First Reading) – Stephanie Steiner

This proposed amendment to Article 4 of the Alliance Council Constitution would change the language on when the Annual Business Meeting is held, as the old language is restrictive and makes it difficult to secure locations and promote attendance. The new language makes sure it remains at or near the end of the season in order for the meeting to continue to serve the purpose of being a recap of the previous year. This does not, however, allow the meeting to be moved to the beginning of the next season, as that would remove the power of our voice.

→ The language was amended upon presentation to the Alliance Council to read that the meeting shall take places within 8 weeks of the conclusion of regular season play. The reference to “regular season play” means that even if the MLS were to change it’s schedule significantly, the Article will still be accurate without having to change any language in the Constitution.

C. Bylaw 7: Supporter Group Recognition (First Reading) – Martin Buckley

→ All of the Supporter Groups were brought together to come up with a plan. The 2 SG points of emphasis were: (i) they saw the Alliance Council as an Independent entity from the Club who could run the process of approval of new SGs; and (ii) the previously created criteria were valid.

→ The de-recognition portion of the previous Bylaw was removed. What is in its place is that de-recognition by the Alliance Council can only take place through non-activity of an SG. There are already mechanisms in place at the Club and MLS level to punish Support Groups who do not follow the rules, so any Alliance Council involvement in that process would be redundant.

→ Section 7.1 was added to the Bylaw so that the definition of active and inactive is clear, and the SGs will follow this process for showing that they are active at the beginning of each season.

V. Stars for All

 A. Letter Sent to MLS: We received no response from the MLS to our letter the Executive Committee sent to them.

B. Solutions: We have the short-term solution, which allows stars to be affixed to replica jerseys, but we need to know the long-term solution. We have gone to Twitter and other social media platforms to state that we still need a long-term solution. There is no time table for when we will be given that solution. The language of the short-term solution makes clear that this was only done for 2017, and we may have to fight this battle all over again for 2018 with out silver star (and hopefully another gold star). We will be following up with the MLS on the long-term solutions.

C. Thank Yous: The Council was very appreciative of the work that the Club did to make the short-term solution happen. The Council particularly wanted to praise Doug Orweiler for his constant dedication to the club and being willing to stand up and fight for the fans.

VI. Adjournment

Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.

 

Meeting Minutes: February 2017

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ALLIANCE COUNCIL

MEETING MINUTES

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.

IV. Concessions

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
– Anheuser-Busch

* 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.

VIII. Adjournment

Moved. Seconded. Council votes unanimously to adjourn.