Meeting Recap: February 2018

Alliance Council Meeting 2/6/2018 

By: Karl Picard

The first part of our February meeting we had a joint session with Taylor, Mikaela, James to discuss Operations, Ticketing and the move to SeatGeek.

Some key notes from the Operations section were:

  • Season attendance average 43,666, hosted non-Sounders games Mexico v Paraguay and the Tournament of Nations.
  • Clear bag policy was implemented over the past year, this was a partnership with CenturyLink.  Continue to work with security around their standards and their application.
  • After addressing the inconstancy with bags at the gate in working with staff, there is a reduction of checked bags at the Sounders official checkpoint based on data. They continue to focus on improving in this area.
  • Continue to work with supports to encourage tifos and displays.
  • There were multiple 48-hour conversions for the stadium from soccer to football (or vice versa).
  • 8 doubleheaders with Mariners, the team continues working to build the relationship between the organizations and to reduce the congestion with the partnership (7 will occur this year).
  • Multiple new presentation elements for match presentations and fan engagements, working to raise the standards
  • We play in one of the greenest stadiums in the world, with 97% waste diversion rate, they generate their own solar power to offset, reduce water consumption with low-flow, and automatic lighting reduces the energy usage.
  • Sounders have a partnership with Youth Force to supply game day support staff.
  • Gate wait time peaks over the season were at most an average of 7 min.  This is a balance between resourcing and not overdoing that expense.  This data point was across all games and times including full stadium games.
  • Sounders will be updating them on the field LED system as they are 9 years old.  This is to reduce the maintenance and repair costs.
  • Reduction of weekday games and Sunday games and increase in Sat games while working to build consistency on kickoff timing.

Next up was the discussion around ticketing.  The SeatGeek transition was completed in a very short offseason.  Tickets will launch the first full week of Feb to allow fans to experiment more before the season (3 weeks before the first home game).  The main change to fans is the account manager (managing of tickets and selling them) is now powered by SeatGeek.  You need to link your account to be able to resell, forward, print tickets, renew seats, reserve playoffs, and take advantage of presales and additional soccer events.  Basically, linking your account sets up your account manager.  There is an insert coming with the Season Ticket packages to outline some of the actions and benefits.  You can now use Venmo to get payments for selling tickets.  The workflows to manage tickets will be more logical and save clicks to do things like print tickets.  SeatGeek no longer has the 7-day restriction of printing tickets like last year, just keep track of what you are printing to prevent any gate issues with duplicates.  The mobile app also saves clicks and has Single Sign-On functionality and integration between managing tickets and accounts. Instructional videos will be coming to help with the transition.  You will need to re-designate tickets again this year for your account.  Designation give the access to the season pass but not to be able to manage the ticket (like selling)

New up was AC Projects for 2018

After a quick break, we moved into Alliance Council projects.  We have 12 projects with multiple people on each project.  Expectations are for the groups to address moving the projects forward outside of the meeting and report back to the group.

  • 10 year anniversary is working on their content, they have a framework on the content and are working with the FO on collaboration.  The goal is to get 15 posts.
  • Away travel team is working on the framework for goals and what they plan to accomplish on tagging away games for general fan allocation.  We want to be careful with not impacting supporter’s groups while working to help general fans can have access.
  • Working with RAVE and others to see what we can do to impact Community involvement.  Todd and Molly joined the group to support Darla.
  • Food and Beverage have been working to have supporter group beers in the stadium, they should be covered for the upcoming season and available.  There should also be some new packages for the upcoming season.  Will continue to work with the FO to provide feedback.  One of the issues is that the Sounders don’t own the venue and there are challenges there.  The group is going to work to come with some data and research to help the cause.
  • GM vote group meet at the end of last month.  They are working to improve marketing, maybe leveraging radio options.  This will be the first vote for Garth and the 2nd for the club.  We want to ensure we have a decent voter turnout.  Voting will be in October timeframe
  • Jersey group is working with front office and working to set up the timing and meetings.  We want to continue to expand our impact on what we can do with the FO for the jerseys.
  • Matchday experience currently doesn’t have a leader and there wasn’t much movement due to that.  Peter volunteered for the group leader.
  • S2 and the Alliance, much of this is going through the Rainers and Community Trust.  We’ll work to support this effort and work with the contacts we have.
  • Scarf vote effort will kick off in late summer or fall
  • Visibility and Outreach is working to identify priorities for the season
  • Sitting vs Standing still without a leader.  Resources have been out for a bit.
  • Youth Outreach will now be led by Todd.  Looking into how to get youth programs to take advantage of open seats.  Getting input from how the Mariners do stuff to support youth tickets.  Group to set up what they want to focus on and identify a front office resource.

That’s all for now, see you next month with another meeting recap.

Meeting Recap: Jan 2018

Jan Meeting Recap

By Karl Picard

The January meeting was on Jan as we moved it a week this month due to it falling just after New Year’s day. We opened the meeting with introductions to new Council members Jesse Kilgore and Gilbert Ko coving why they joined and how they have been involved with the Sounders to date. We have gotten some great new members recently but need more to address all the items we have (see further below). If you are reading this you too can join the Alliance Council and help represent the fans.

Martin gave an update on a survey conducted on how the AC can better communicate and collaborate. The results were emails for collaboration on bigger items like projects and SMS/Text for more urgent items and things that need immediate action. We will still use the Google group for archiving and communications.

The main focus of is around planning with front office topics and then projects for the council for 2018.   A lot of the front office discussions do require us to fall in-line with the front office calendar so we can be sure we can influence this year/next year. Topics we are planning to address:

  • Food was a topic we addressed last year and we had little influence based on our meeting. We want to follow-up on some of the items from last year. Hoping this year will be more focused on the stadium concourse food rather than the suite or higher end items. We want to readdress overall draft beer selection and options for veggie and vegan stadium wide.
  • Marketing was another item we discussed last year. We saw some items but not a full execution there. We plan to cover some game day experience and well as overall experience around the stadium.
  • Want to try to get security in for a discussion around the experience and what the plan is for improving, as well as reporting issues.
  • Rave foundation, we want to get an update from them on what is going on and where the money from the AC donation last year went.
  • Discussed addressing outreach and ticketing as well.

We will work with the front office to determine the schedule for the next several months.

Next up was what items were project and efforts the Alliance Council is going to work on in 2018.

  • 10 years of the Alliance – we are planning to have regular content on this topic and need folks to produce content. Key resources: Martin Buckley, Stephanie Steiner, Roberta King, Molly Wagner, and Nick Biela.
  • GM Vote – vote to retain Garth. We have 2 thresholds we need 40% of the Alliance to vote, a supermajority is required for the action to be binding otherwise the decision is up to the front office. Key resources: Jeff Williams, Nick Biesold and Darla Langdon
  • Sitting vs Standing – can we get designated sections, this keeps coming up
  • Traveling portal to connect fans. Key Resources: Lisa Angeles
  • Youth outreach: Lots of discussion around how to get the next generation involved, possibly through a junior alliance. Need to determine what options exist and do some research. Key Resources: Darla Langdon, Todd Cowles, Nicholaus Biela, Molly Wagner, Dan Roe, and Gilbert Ko
  • S2, is there something we need to get involved with there? We’ll put a request into the Community trust.   Key resources: Darla Langdon
  • Outreach & Visibility around the Alliance Council, driving the brand and ensuring we get information out to the Alliance. Key Resources: Karl Picard, Cameron Collins, Nick Biela, and Jesse Kilgore

Final items we addressed were getting bios and pictures for the new members to update the website.

We have a lot of work ahead in 2018 and the more folks on the Council the more we can get done. If you are interested in joining reach out or just self-nominate and get your 25 votes. We’d love to have you.

Meeting Recap: Dec 2017

Alliance Council Meeting 12/5/2017

By Karl Picard

The December meeting was based around Alliance Council elections.

First order of business was introduction to Peter Buck is a new member here for the first time.  We also have new members Todd, Lisa, and Molly for the 2018 season who were part of a previous meeting.

After introductions, we moved into the voting for the committee, there were 5 positions President, VP, Secretary, and 2 open positions.  We worked our way through each position with candidates giving their justification and qualifications, then questions from the group, and ending with each member voting on each position.  Ultimately resulting in group electing a person to hold each position.

  • President -> Martin (2 ran)
  • VP -> Stephanie (unopposed)
  • Secretary -> Cameron (2 ran)
  • At Large #1 -> Todd (4 ran)
  • At Large #2 -> Karl (3 ran)

After the elections, we moved onto returning member intros for those that didn’t run for an executive committee position.

We had a recap of the Annual Business meeting from November.  Looking into the results of the meeting and what went well, what to work on, and how we can improve for next year.  There was a financial offset based on the meet and greet at the fan fest and the annual meeting.  Numbers back from the meeting, 100 people from the match pass lottery were there in person, for steaming (2 streams running for the meeting via Facebook and YouTube) over 26k click throughs and an estimated 5k unique people reach both live and in the few days following the meeting.  We estimate we reach 3x more than fans previous years and that doesn’t include the blog interaction.  We did note the concerns around not attending the event, how can we have a larger attendance and a good quality stream.  Discussed where we can improve and make it better for the fans next year.  This covered how to better get follow-up questions, to getting better answers from the front office, to how the Alliance Council can better represent the fans.

We wrapped with a discussion around how to have better communications for Alliance Council members.  A survey with options will be sent to the group.  We also noted the January meeting will note be Jan 2nd and we are looking into Jan 9th.

Meeting Recap: June 2017

Alliance Council Meeting 6/6/2017

By Karl Picard

We opened with a discussion with the front office around the 2019 jersey.  This allowed the AC to provide input but overall the club will provide the input back to the league and Adidas.  There are lots of areas for input as the process goes on but the input starts now.

We got to meet Jeff who just joined the AC.  Really wants to do what he can to improve the fan experience.  Deep family experience with soccer though both his personal play an experience as well as that with his kids.

Charitable contribution – there was a question in the survey and we are researching options for the Alliance.  We discussed a few options and more details on the decision should come soon.

Alliance Scarf Vote is coming soon – look for mail from the Club announcing dates and deadlines on submissions and voting.

10 years of the Alliance, this initiative is coming later this year.  We are kicking off working on some blog posts, video and other ideas and we are targeting one a month in the run up tonext season.  The goal is working on bringing awareness of the history of the Alliance Council and the Alliance as a whole.  We plan on having about 10 – 15 posts.

Constitution vote coming soon. Look for more updates and articles very soon.

If this is something that interests you, please join the Alliance council or provide your ideas in the comments below

Meeting Recap: May 2017

May 17th, 2017
By Alex Eagleton

Our May 2017 meeting kicked off with a presentation from the Rave Foundation presented by Kimberly Aigner (Director of Community Outreach), Ashley Fosberg (Executive Director); and Katie Pendleton (Community Outreach Coordinator).

As some of you may be aware, the Rave Foundation is the official charitable arm of the Sounders. We discussed what the foundation is all about and their mission in leading, serving, and investing in the community. Part of those initiatives was seen during the 5/10 match at Century Link Field as part of the Give Big day where the Rave Foundation raised $9926 towards building soccer fields in the community. Also part of Give Big, each player on the Sounders team, including staff and coaches selected a non-profit in an effort to raise funds for their favorite charities.

We also discussed some of the other programs under the Rave Foundation: GOALS for Art, ONE Ball, RAVE Fields, and FREE Play. Each initiative is designed to drive participation, creativity, being active, and community pride.

The presentation concluded with status on current and future projects, partnerships, and upcoming events. If you would like to learn more or donate, you can visit the Rave Foundation website.

After the presentation concluded, we discussed business from our previous meeting which included follow up from existing issues in regards to bags at the stadium. Darla provided follow up in regards to the matter and will continue to work on this matter.

The meeting concluded with updates on all of our initiatives for 2017. We assigned leaders for the GM Vote and had a discussion on updates regarding Stars for All, Visibility, Matchpass Rewards money for charity, The Save, etc.

Finally, the Alliance Council is looking for enthusiastic and motivated people to join the council. We have a lot of goals and initiatives that need people like you. If this sounds like you or you would like to learn more, please visit http://ssfcalliancecouncil.com/standing-for-alliance-council/. You can also reach out to us and learn more about the Alliance Council.

Meeting Recap: April 2017

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.