Back in 2009 the End of Year meeting was more like a FanFest event. For 2010 under encouragement on the Alliance Council it became more like a stock holders meeting. That decision was made in large part due to the Council putting forward that the idea that the members of the Sounders FC Alliance are stakeholders in the club. In 2011 the Alliance Council actually planned the meeting. They’ve done so again in 2012.
It’s kind of odd writing about the Sounders FC Annual Meeting. I was on the stage during the Q&A session for 2011. I helped push for the change in format back in 2010. Just a few months ago I served alongside the current Council who planned this year’s event.
But that’s also part of what makes the Alliance End of Year meeting special. It is designed to help give the fans more access to the team’s thoughts about why they do what they do. It is an element of Democracy in Sports that is becoming a key tradition for everyone affiliated with the organization. The Council, the Alliance membership and the team work together to create this club. Thursday’s meeting is a clear representation of that (WaMu Theater doors open at 6:30 pm with the formal event starting at 7 pm).
Last year saw Drew Carey use Skype to participate remotely, but the rest of the ownership group was onstage. Players signed autographs prior to the start of the formal meeting. Adrian Hanauer recapped the season from a player/personnel standpoint. Representatives of the business side of things talked about what they are doing to build the team off the field. The Council recapped what they’ve done over the years.
The Alliance Council is again taking submissions for the Q&A session. Last year those were filtered by popularity to be addressed in at the meeting (by members of Council, ownership and other front office staff), and the rest were answered online as well. Some of those questions help increase the influence of the Council and broader Alliance on team decisions in 2012.
All of the above will continue.
But 2012 offers more. Alliance members selected their scarf for 2013 and they will find out which of the options won. Even more significantly the results of the referendum on Adrian Hanauer’s time as General Manager will be revealed.
The Sounders FC Annual Business Meeting is a symbol of participation and empowerment. There will be the opportunity to vote for future Alliance Council members, to see the trophies held by the team, to learn more about the Council, to meet fellow fans and interact with the various supporters groups.
I’ll be at the 2012 End of Year Meeting. Covering the team as I’ve done for several years combined with my time on the Alliance Council I may not learn much besides the results of the two votes being revealed. I will still be there. I will be there because this is something in America that is uniquely Sounders. It is by the fans, for the fans and yet backed by the team. Hundreds, if not thousands will be present.
In the end, the Sounders FC Annual Meeting is about those that choose to participate in this team and make it the unique American football club it is.