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2003 Pre-Season Supporters Meeting With Sounders Front Office:

Here's what transpired at the Supporters meeting with the Front Office (GM Adrian Hanauer and Communications/Media director Bart Wiley)

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Scarves -- We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the club designed and sent in an order for scarves using the "old school" logo and colors, and scarves will be available for purchase at the end of March 2003, directly from the club, or at the stadium on match days. See Scarves page for the design and other details.

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Kits -- The red is officially OUT!!! The home kits will be all white, with the away strip being all green. The club signed a 3 year kit agreement with Nike -- this year's kits will not be customized due to the lack of production time before the season starts. The 2003 kits will be a variation of the Nike "Italia" jersey. Next year's should be customized and will look more "retro" in all likelihood. The women's team will have the same color scheme, but not the Italia jersey.

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Merchandising -- as evidenced by the logo and kit changes, the "old school" logo is in and the logo from previous A-League seasons is on the way out. Although the orca will stay in some form via different styled T-shirts and other merchandise. Over time, the "branding" will become more consistent and "tighter", currently most of it is done in-house hence some of the inconsistencies of the "brand". The Sounders are looking to find a "sweet spot" involving the old school look with a modern twist to it.

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Marketing -- While more aimed at the next season, the Sounders plan on proposing/doing more joint marketing schemes with the Seattle Thunderbirds hockey team, such as offering ticket exchanges to the other's games when buying a season or flex pass ticket for the one. Also in the works are proposals to work with each other's registered email lists. The supporters group proposed getting in touch with the T-birds booster club and working on a sort of alliance with them, as the hockey off-season falls neatly into the Sounders season and vice versa.

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Radio/Webcasts -- All home and away matches will be broadcast over the air and via webcasts by KKNW-AM. This is the same station that carries Seattle Thunderbirds junior hockey, and the T-birds announcer will also be doing the broadcasts for the Sounders. In addition, expect to see color commentators such as Alan Hinton and Jimmy Gabriel for the home matches. Links to the webcast should be on both the KKNW site and the Sounders site, which is also going to be redone before the season starts.

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Stadium/Security -- We asked that a few rows of "buffer" space in section 113 be left behind us, both to avoid the problem of more casual fans demanding we sit down, and to give the supporters section room to grow as the season goes on. Currently we have the first three rows reserved for us.

Also, we asked, and the club agreed, to make the supporters section more visible at the ticket booths as a way to grow the section, via signage that indicates section 113 is a supporters section with all the usual activities that go on there. Basically the club were extremely willing to do whatever we thought would help market and grow the group.

As for security, although the Seahawks Stadium regulations ban flag poles and the like, we were assured that the front office would do whatever it takes to get flags on poles, drums, etc in the stadium -- possibly having the Sounders check them in as part of "team equipment" if necessary.

Smoke bombs, flares and the like we didn't pursue, as the FieldTurf surface would be damaged by these if thrown on the pitch. It's too risky at this point to risk messing up what progress we're making now to lose it if some idiot brings in and tosses one of these on the pitch.

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Matchday/Stadium -- The club are going to work with the surrounding pubs (Slugger's, FX McRory's, among others) to have prominent Sounders signs displayed outside the pubs on match day. We mentioned it would be a good idea to have a scarf or two to display inside the pub (and others like the Attic, George & Dragon, etc) for additional advertising, and the club said they'd get on that.

In the future, the club will look into having neon signs with sponsors for the pubs as additional ways to "penetrate" the pubs.

There will be a beer garden inside the North end plaza (Hawks' Nest end) open for an hour prior to match time. The club suggested we might want to use this area as a gathering place and as a way to recruit people into the supporters section. There will be picnic tables and other areas to sit. BBQ and other fare will be available as well.

FX McRory's will have post-match parties set up as well.

bulletMLS -- As part of the Brian Ching transfer, a match v. San Jose Earthquakes is in the pipeline, which would be held at Seahawks Stadium, likely in June on a weeknight when the Mariners are not playing. The clubs currently are seeking a mutually agreeable date, one which would at least seen Landon Donovan able to be in town, if not playing in the match.
bulletBus trips -- Due to the scheduling of away matches in Portland and Vancouver, the only date that makes immediate sense to run a bus is the August 9 match at Portland. We suggested that the bus marketing start a couple months in advance so that people can plan for it. The club agreed that would be a good idea. For the other away matches, we're going to assume that we'll arrange carpools/rides ourselves, although it's not totally out of the question that one of the Vancouver matches might have one. Playoff matches would likely see a bus set up, as with last year.
bulletSquad -- The player roster should look much like last year, with the exceptions being Brian Ching (San Jose) and Nate Daligcon (retiring) not being back. Ex-Sounder and MLS player Sean Henderson may return this season. Jayson Boyce, Preston Burpo, among others have not yet agreed to terms.

One tidbit dropped was that an outside midfield signing from MLS is imminent, though we're not at liberty to identify the specific player as yet. The Sounders have three players from this month's open trials invited back to training camp, and another tryout later this month will look at local college players and the odd A-League/MLS veteran -- though this latter type of player is likely to not be subject to the tryouts, rather would be signed directly. Players cut by MLS teams that could be signed would likely come from San Jose, Los Angeles, Colorado, Kansas City, or Chicago.

As for other signings, it looks like the "areas of need" are for an additional defender or two for flexibility to play a 4-4-2 on the wider Seahawks Stadium pitch, and for playoff matches in which more "wide open" tactics aren't called for.

bulletMiscellaneous -- The Sounders are interested in having a supporter who has Web design skills to help out on the redesign of the club's site at www.seattlesounders.net.

ManUre's match v. Celtic in July has sold out, as has the Philadelphia match on the tour. The match in LA v. Club America had sold only about 10K, and the match in Giants Stadium had sold about 45K.

The Sounders plan to have a booth up at US-Japan and will have volunteers to distribute pocket schedules and other literature. However, other joint marketing of the match doesn't appear to be in the cards.

If anyone has music-business/production connections, the Sounders are looking for someone to help in transferring an old cassette recording of the NASL club's "entrance music" to digitally enhanced CD -- basically a better copy of what they have currently.