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.

 

Meeting Recap: March 2017

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.

 

Meeting Recap: February 2017

Meeting Recap February 7th, 2017

clip_image002

Photos by Stephanie Steiner

February 16, 2017

By Stephanie Steiner

clip_image004We kicked off our meeting with a survey of Council members (private voting). The Rave Foundation is being supported and honored by glassybaby. The Rave Foundation will have its own glassybaby (shown to the left) and we are one of the groups asked to weigh in on what we think it should be called. We turned in our surveys and quickly moved along to the food and beverage portion of the meeting.

The February 7th meeting was the first ever Strategy Session. Strategy Sessions was a new way of working with the Club that was adopted last year. When the agenda was sent out for the meeting, volunteers were sought to be on the food and beverage follow up team. That team is: Martin Buckley, Cameron Collins, Alex Eagleton, and Mike Dollard.

Food and beverage at Century Link Field is undergoing an exciting transition. First and Goal Hospitality is the new entity making all of the choices with regard to food and beverages at Century Link Field. We met with Dawn Wheeler, Ashli Brown, and Michael Johnson. They’re diving into explorations regarding beer and cider selections (and how they should be different on tap vs. in 16 oz. cans), how large corporate partnerships can be respected while allowing the differences in Seahawks fans and Sounders fans to be honored, and allowing the quality and alcohol content desires to be met for two distinct fan bases: whereas Sounders fans tend to lean more toward craft beer choices, Seahawks fans tend to choose beers with lower alcohol content to help them through a game that is hours longer.

We had an extensive conversation about bringing in quality food choices that might be considered “alternative” in other markets but are fairly mainstream here in Seattle: fresh food instead of being high fat/fried, vegetarian/vegan choices, gluten free, dairy free, and so on. There are so many options available, that we shouldn’t be settling for food that tastes terrible or is poorly prepared. We learned that much of the struggle in the past has come from inadequate training, which is being addressed.

Martin’s son, Hugo, a ten-year-old vegetarian submitted his well-written thoughts on Century Link’s food and beverage for us to consider. I love receiving correspondence from “junior counsel.”

Below are some images of the samples the food and beverage team brought with them for us to taste. We’re not showing these to you to make you envious, make you hungry, or make you want to join the Alliance Council – those are simply beneficial side effects of these images.

clip_image006

clip_image008clip_image010 clip_image012clip_image014

clip_image015

The team at First and Goal Hospitality, Left to Right: Michael Johnson, Ashli Brown, and Dawn Wheeler.

After the Strategy Session, we moved into our own business. First up: Article 8, Supporter Groups. The first reading of the article change was read in November of last year. This was the second reading with an amendment to change the line “designated seating sections” for clarification. It now reads, “Front Office-designated seating sections.” The amendment and the Article were passed unanimously.

We had the first reading of some changes (for clarity) to Article 6 regarding Honorary Chairperson. It’s fairly easy to keep things going when people continue to serve on Council. But when there are large changes to Council, it can be confusing as to what can or cannot be done. So we elected to add clarifying language to Article 6 about the position of Honorary Chairperson. We’re now calling it Honorary Chairperson(s) to make it obvious that more than one person can hold the title at the same time – this gives a Council the ability to grant a youth team the honor if they chose to do so. We declared that if there ever were to be responsibilities of the role, they’d be managed in the bylaws – this does two things: it shows that there aren’t any responsibilities now, and tells people where they’d find them if there ever are any. Lastly, we declared how we’ll name the Honorary Chairperson(s) or rescind the honor should that ever be necessary. None of these things are changes to the process that we follow, they’re just now spelled out so that everyone understands that this is what to do in the future.

We addressed our list of initiatives for 2017 (it’s a lot), and got names attached to each item on the list. We’ll post those separately so that we can update the post and add to it. Those of us who have already started on our projects updated the group.

We finished with open conversation which was mostly about stars on jerseys – at the time, it wasn’t nearly as heated as it has become: MLS had not yet issued the cease and desist to the partner store which was stitching stars on replica jerseys.

Our next Strategy Session will be at our March meeting and we’ll meet with the Marketing team.