Hello from the Ninety! I’m down here covering the Sounders Business Meeting. Not sure what kind of news we’ll get out this, but it’s typically interesting. I’ll come with any interesting tidbits that come out of the session.
7:05 P.M.: Meeting is under way. Interesting that Drew Carey is here in person.
7:16 P.M.: Adrian announces that there may be a new jersey partner. Big news.
7:18 P.M.: GM vote results up next.
7:19 P.M.: 37.2% of alliance members voted and 87.3% voted to retain Garth.
7:20 P.M.: Drew jokes that the 40% threshold is really only important when the GM is danger of being removed.
7:23 P.M.: After a LOOOOOOONG leadup, question is why bother with the vote when the 40% threshold isn’t reached.
7:25 P.M.: Stephanie Steiner with a strong rebuke of the question. Drew Carey seconds her remarks.
7:29 P.M.: Jersey design talk. Stephanie says that it’s unlikely that the process will not change so long as MLS is single entity. Competition would be better, but time constraints and Adidas has essentially veto power. Says it’s not really the Sounders’ fault.
7:31 P.M.: Fair to say that the Sounders aren’t particularly thrilled about dealing with Adidas, but they’re being diplomatic. Stephanie Steiner is NOT.
7:34 P.M.: Actually, Bart Wiley (Sounders COO) was only slightly more diplomatic about Adidas.
7:36 P.M.: Sounds like there were much less issues with regard to security and entrance. That’s good news and the Sounders should rightly be proud of the improvements.
7:39 P.M.: Question about why the date of the business meeting is so late. Martin (Alliance co-president) says reasoning is that the Sounders are always in the playoffs, which affects availability. Also, the FIFA window plays a role. Says it will always be around this time, so block it out in your calendar for around this time.
7:42 P.M.: Business report is next with Bart Wiley giving the presentation.
7:44 P.M.: Sounders said they missed some their revenue projections. Says ticketing partnership with SeatGeek was up and down.
7:46 P.M.: Bart is super excited about the secondary kit. I’ve seen some of the templates. People will like it.
7:50 P.M.: Question about full-stadium games. Won’t know until they get their schedule.
7:52 P.M.: Question about how the Sounders can surpass Atlanta. Bart says it’s important to provide value for the tickets, so it’s tough to give them up.
7:53 P.M.: Question about how the Sounders can reach untapped fanbases. Bart says MLS has employed a firm (Boston Consulting) to investigate how the best way to do this.
7:55 P.M.: Sounders are going to go to people who says that game dates impact their ability to go to games. (i.e., would games at 7:30 on Saturday induce more people to go).
7:59 P.M.: Sounders are working on getting more Eastern Washington fans involved via marketing and TV relationships.
8:02 P.M.: Garth up and after thanking the fans for retaining him, talks about the season. Says that in exit-interviews, some players mentioned that they were simply exhausted. Silver lining of loss is that players will get a full offseason.
8:05 P.M.: Garth says they have the core in place, and have the ability to remake the bottom portion of their roster through the academy and Sounders 2. In phase 2 working with the Rainiers in Tacoma. Within two years, hoping to get lots of academy/S2 players to the 1st team. Notes Handwalla Bwana’s impact, which was probably “a year early.”
8:10 P.M.: Garth says the season was not a success. Can’t lose to Portland and call the season a success. Can’t be the only high seed to get knocked out and call it a success.
8:11 P.M.: As to the question of whether the Sounders have an opinion on MLS removing a DP, Garth says that he doesn’t know, and that investing heavily in two DP’s is a better strategy.
8:12 P.M.: Friendly question: Garth says it’s good to have the kids playing in front of 40k at Century Link has value. While they haven’t had Barcelona in recently, there is a benefit even if its teams from Mexico.
8:14 P.M.: Q: Will Sounders season-ticket holders get priority to World Cup games. Adrian half-jokes that FIFA will control the tickets with an iron fist.
8:15 P.M.: Bart says that jersey sales were on par with last year. Not sharing numbers.
8:16 P.M.: Soccer specific stadium question. Adrian says they’d of course like to control their stadium, but they have a good relationship with First and Goal. Seems excited with the new CEO of Vulcan, who is a soccer fan. Confident the relationship will continue to grow.
8:17 P.M.: Adrian says they’re not happy with Monday night games. Says they’re not good for anyone. No serious thought/progress on a soccer specific stadium. 10 year lease left.
8:20 P.M.: Adrian also says it’s a good thing they didn’t try to get a 20k stadium out in the suburbs back in 2007. Drew jokes he did buy a lottery ticket when it got over a billion.
8:21 P.M.: Question about the car show. Person from CenturyLink notes they’ve gotten a lot of feedback. Says it’s not ideal. Goes in detail about the vote back in the 1997 which provided priority for the convention center for consumer shows. Three primary tenants are Seahawks, Sounders and consumer events. Have a long-term lease and those dates are set well in advance. Worked to move them out of October and into FIFA dates. Worked for quite a few years until this year. Makes it seem like it’ll be a one-time issue.
8:22 P.M.: CenturyLink guy says that the Seahawks were impacted to. Crowd seemed to appreciate answer.
8:23 P.M.: Adrian says that they are likely to improve the Starfire facility in the near future.
8:24 P.M.: Question on what happens with the Sounders with the passing of Paul Allen. Sounders says things are business as usual for the time being. Shouldn’t be an impact on the Sounders. Says Vulcan has been more of a silent (but helpful) partner.
8:28 P.M.: What is the relationship with the Reign. Adrian says they are having more “real-time” conversations with the Reign. Stadium situation is very difficult. Not a lot a great options.
8:31 P.M.: Sounders Community Trust question. Stephanie says the Alliance doesn’t have a direct relationship with SCT, and they get updates similar to others.
8:34 P.M.: Sounds like they’re planning to go in front the Tacoma Parks and the City on the issue of a new stadium.
8:35 P.M.: Question on ensuring a safe, diverse workplace. Adrian says leadership starts at the top with him. Says the organization values diversity, whether it’s the Pride event in the summer, or the leadership of the organization. Says they can always do better.
8:39 P.M.: Says they’ve made a branding decision on Sounders 2. MLS has a say, along with USL and the City of Tacoma.
8:42 P.M.: Question about what Garth sees in 10 years where he is looking at the trophy case (“room” interjects Adrian). Garth jokes he’ll be appreciative if he survives two more elections.
Hope everyone enjoyed the coverage!