As readers of this website know, I am not shy about sharing my opinion. So when offered the opportunity to have ongoing small group discussions with the front office, I said “Sign me up!”
Last year early in the season, the Union put out a call for fans to apply to be on the Fan Council. They got a lot of interest so I’m not the only opinionated member of the fanbase.
Originally, 26 fans were chosen from the hundreds of applicants. We are a diverse group of fans – SOBs and non-SOBs, young and old, season ticket holders and not yet season ticket holders, single and married (with or without kids). The thought is that we would serve for a season or two before new folks would enter the mix.
We meet about once every two months in Chester to discuss a wide range of topics – from what we like/dislike about the Loyalty Program, what could be done to get the fans excited before and during games (yes, winning does help) and to how to get more casual fans in the seats.
These discussions can become quite lively when people have passionate beliefs about what the Union brand embodies. Are we the gritty city with die hard fans, hard hitting brawlers, or should we look to change our image?
There have been a few “perks” to the job. Its always nice to get to know the folks behind the scenes. I know most of the front office members by name which makes it easy when I have a question about anything – I can go directly to the right person. We got to tour the new training facility (the site of our meetings) and we were invited to the press conference with the Commissioner last Tuesday.
So far, my favorite “perk” has been the opportunity to paint the mural on the wall near 133. We came together the first Sunday in March in the cold to test our artistic abilities. It was a great chance to talk to other members about the upcoming Vancouver game and our off-season signings.
The most interesting “perk” and part of our job is to look at ideas that the front office has before they release them to the public. They want our feedback – good, bad or ugly. For example, before the playoffs last season, we got a chance to look at the marketing materials that were designed to get fans excited about the postseason. There were three players featured in these graphics. One member of the council piped up and reminded us all that one of the reasons we reached the playoffs was because of the stellar play of Andre Blake. He was not one of the three players the staff had chosen to feature in the advertisement. The marketing staff took it to heart and I was happy to see when the eventual campaign featuring Andre Blake. So yes, they do listen to our input and make changes because of it.
For me, although I love voicing my opinion, the best part has been getting together with other fans to talk about our shared passion – our boys in blue.