What do YOU want from a supporters club?

Discussion in 'Columbus Supporters Clubs' started by RoleModel83, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. RoleModel83

    RoleModel83 Member

    Jul 27, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    There's obviously been a heap load of discussion on here about what the existing supporters groups should do both collectively and as separate entities. However, I am curious (since attendance and participation is currently very low), what (besides a winning, entertaining team) do you want from your supporters club? What is it that will keep you coming back to the section and the group week after week, game to game, and in the off-season?

    I'm really interested to find out so I can hopefully work to solve some of the problems we've been having this year in 137.
     
  2. ZipSix

    ZipSix BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 20, 2000
    Boston, MA
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    All I want is the end of "red and black.... just like the nazis"

    I fu*#ing hate that chant.
     
  3. kaiser kraut

    kaiser kraut New Member

    Jun 26, 2001
    Indianapolis
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    There are so many things that could be improved, and so many seem to depend on another fix, that I'm not quite sure where to start. It's like I can somewhat visualize the end product in my mind, but I can't really figure out how to get from here to there. I'll think on it and get back to you.
     
  4. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite BS XXV

    Apr 10, 1999
    Columbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You're not the only one. Unfortunately, there's people that will join up with us in 137, but not post online. They're the ones we need to get the message to.
     
  5. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite BS XXV

    Apr 10, 1999
    Columbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Agreed. Part of what's hindering us is the fact that out of our membership that shows up every game, only a few post online.

    There's people that go to 137 (and not just legion members), but don't post online. By not posting, they don't know what our plans are, and what we're doing. The more involved someone is, the more likely they are to know what we're doing and what we're about. By only showing their faces between kickoff and leaving 2 hours later, they can be relatively clueless.
     
  6. Ch(Elsey)

    Ch(Elsey) Member+

    Columbus Crew
    United States
    May 2, 2003
    Green, Ohio
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yeah, well I love "a rope, a tree" chant, but no one ****ing likes that one.
     
  7. jairadballerina

    jairadballerina Member+

    Sep 15, 2004
    C-Town
    First, is this a supporters club like Placid described where it just exists unofficially? Or do you want something official and recognized by the FO?

    Both have their advantages and disadvantages...
     
  8. Zak

    Zak Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    Massive Club
    That's a new one, PM it to me if it can't be posted here. Thanks.
     
  9. Ch(Elsey)

    Ch(Elsey) Member+

    Columbus Crew
    United States
    May 2, 2003
    Green, Ohio
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No, it's an old one, that no one feels is in good taste. :rolleyes:
     
  10. K

    K BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 16, 1999
    DC, Fake America
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've noticed that neither Legion or VArmy seem to have paid membership (or it wasn't readily apparent on their websites), why is that? While it requires someone to manage a database and someone to be a treasurer, a paid membership accomplishes a few things:

    1. Instant cash in your club kitty
    2. Easy way to collect contact info so you can inform members what's going on (email, ph, snail mail)
    3. Makes people feel more like they're a member of a group (paid investment vs. weak verbal, yeah I'll show up).
    4. Makes the club look more established (vs a loose gathering of like-minded souls)

    Amt to charge should be based on your audience (I think most supporters clubs around the league charge between $10-$20 a person; the SEs charge $20 for people over 21 and $5 for 20 and under because we give adults free keg beer at the tailgates).

    The cash on hand is a big deal. No matter what you want to accomplish you're going to need some $$.

    K
     
  11. BBBulldog

    BBBulldog Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jun 25, 2004
    Dinamo Zagreb
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    Croatia
    those bastard Metrostars nazis :D
     
  12. kaiser kraut

    kaiser kraut New Member

    Jun 26, 2001
    Indianapolis
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    We tried that one year for V-Army, and everybody got a t-shirt out of the deal, so we all had yellow t-shirts that we could wear in the section. We had a treasurer, a bank account, and a bunch of stuff, but it sort of didn't get sustained. I think we've been going through a lot of growing pains for several years now.
     
  13. RoleModel83

    RoleModel83 Member

    Jul 27, 2003
    Columbus, OH
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    What if we were to put together some sort of membership for "North End Supporters" that cost about $20-25 and gave you the following:

    1. membership card with name on it
    2. t-shirt
    3. discounts at various businesses (Donato's, Soccer Plus, etc.)
    4. road trip discount price/priority
    5. supporters scarf

    The membership would not be restricted to a specific group, such as V-Army, but would work to unite all Crew "supporters".

    Would this interest anyone?

    (p.s.- I'm thinking for next season, as it would be difficult to put this together now with the season half over and the team in such a black hole)
     
  14. DRWCrew

    DRWCrew Member

    Aug 11, 2003
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Some good ideas nuthouse but that free keg beer might actually help to get more people there.
     
  15. kaiser kraut

    kaiser kraut New Member

    Jun 26, 2001
    Indianapolis
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Hmmm... not a bad idea, but I think I would go with the following approach:

    Get official membership to be for the umbrella group. I think North End Supporters is funny, because of the duality with NES (Nintendo Entertainment System - yeah, old skool beotch!). We can decide on a group name later, as that's minor compared to the structure.

    Have annual membership dues. Maybe $25 for 1, $45 for 2 (couples, siblings, whatever), and $60 for a group of 4. The price break downs encourage people to find a friend or a significant other to join up with them. You can get 4 college or HS kids to throw $15 a piece together to join in as well. Have this money go towards the tailgate expenses. Have people with membership cards get free food, free soda, and $2 for all you want keg beer (have a stamp or bracelet or something). Then have a $5 food fee and a $5 keg beer fee for nonmembers. OR, if you think that would scare off the non-members, have free food & soda, but with a donation jar so people of good moral value can throw in a few bucks to help defray costs. Then the non-member keg fee can still be $5, which is a damn good deal for all you can drink keg beer. (or have a $2 a cup option if people don't want more then 1 or 2 drinks)

    The tailgate is really key, and I think Zak will back me up here. People want to start off the Crew day by having a good time out in the lot. Have some food, some drinks, chat with fellow fans, kick a ball around, whatever. You get people into the Supporters tailgate, get them interested in the NES, and they come sit with us and they eventually get hooked into it. Tailgate is one of the two biggest recruitment tools (the other being stadium atmosphere).

    I would approach the FO and say that you're trying to get an umbrella group together to unite the supporters and to provide a better atmosphere for the games. The only things you really need to ask for initially are a dedicated tailgate area and whatever seating you plan on using, whether it just starts as 137, or if you do 136-138. Come up with a smart proposal about how this is not just for the "hardcore" fans, but also for the less vigorous fans that want to be part of that atmosphere and experience. This would be going along the ideas of having 137 being the ultra-type area, people standing, chanting, clapping, whatever... and the 136 and 138 areas being for the people that want to be around it, but be able to actually use their seat and not lose their voice if they don't want to.

    Then, for the members, go ahead with a bunch of your perks:
    1. membership card with name on it (laminated... or get FO to do something official... but it should be wallet sized)

    2. t-shirt discounts. Have multiple t-shirts to offer. One for NES (or whatever we call it) and then also offer ones for the different sub-groups (V-Army, Legion, whoever) as it will be easier for NES to orchestrate that then the smaller groups.

    3. discounts at various businesses (Donato's, Soccer Plus, etc.) this should be something that is part of the membership card/id. I think it is a really good idea, though. I think I would go after soccer related businesses in Columbus, see if you can convince BW3, R&T, and Fados to join in.

    4. road trip discount price/priority (good idea)

    5. supporters scarf. I would have multiples of this as well. Take a look at what section8chicago.com has. They have some people there that produce all of these and can be helpful in getting scarves done. I would have them for the umbrella group, for just crew, and maybe for individual groups, but that might be stretching it thin.

    Once things start to get hopping again in 137, then I think the NES would have a bit more pull with the FO. Some other things that I would suggest, is getting a professional website for NES. I can help out with that, if need be, and I'm sure Fiddy can as well, but you never know if such a busy mod will ever have time for that :) A professional looking website is also a strong recruitment tool, as image can be very important in persuading people that you're legit and will not be stealing their membership money. It is also a great way of dispensing certain information. You can detail the hours of the tailgate, where to find the tailgate location, the specifics of cost for members/nonmembers. You can talk about the different subgroups and what they are/do. You can have song/chant sheets for people that are unfamiliar or can't make out the words. You can link to the various t-shirts, scarves and any other merchandise. You can set up an email list or contact list and have officers and volunteer sign-ups.

    You'll need some responsible people to help set up and tear down the tailgate, and anything done inside the stadium. I would suggest that these folks start tearing down the grills with 30 minutes to go. You can still have some of the food sitting out, but you don't want to penalize volunteers by having them miss the game. So you try and make sure everything is packed up with 10 or 15 minutes to go so that people can walk in.

    I would also suggest that the group have an official "march in" to the stadium from the tailgate. Not everybody has to do it, but have a set time when you'll have a couple of people with flags, drums, or banners or whatever, and then the rest of the group marching in from the lot together, singing and cheering and such. It's a good way to draw the attention and interest of casual fans. Have a couple people flanking the group with flyers to hand out to curious parties advertising the group and inviting people to come sit in the North End. You can make set the time of the march-in for 20 minutes before game time, so that folks have enough time to march into the stadium and to 137, and then hit the bathroom or concessions before the match. I just think it would be a good visual and would benefit the group as a whole.

    Those are just some starter ideas... I'm sure I'll come up with more at some point.
     
  16. Sachin

    Sachin New Member

    Jan 14, 2000
    La Norte
    Club:
    DC United
    You won't get any pull unless you agree to sell season tickets to members. Part of the reason why the Screaming Eagles in particular and DCU supporters in general have good relations with the FO is because we sell a lot of season tickets. I think the SEs may be the single largest block of STE (season ticket equivalent) holders in MLS.

    Sachin
     
  17. kaiser kraut

    kaiser kraut New Member

    Jun 26, 2001
    Indianapolis
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    And that's certainly something that can be explored, but I don't think our FO will mandate such a thing. The V-Army folks currently have a deal with the FO for ticket sales (is my understanding, could be wrong), and it's day-of tickets, not package deals. I think the FO will appreciate actually anything that gets butts back in the stadium at this point, so we have more pull now then we would have had a year or so back.

    No, maybe you can include with NES membership a package for 4 tickets? So you do your regular membership price plus another $40 for 4 tickets that can be exchanged for any game of the season. And since 137 is general admission, it's even easier to deal with.
     
  18. Sachin

    Sachin New Member

    Jan 14, 2000
    La Norte
    Club:
    DC United
    It's not a question of mandating, but if you align your goals with the FO, it makes for a better relationship. Your goal is to provide a loud atmosphere for the Crew. Their goal is to put butts in seats (or feet in front of them). If you start selling season ticket equivalents to your members for the Crew, they will listen when you want to hang large banners and the like.

    First sell the tickets, then get the pull. If you're not selling tickets then the FO has no reason to cooperate with you.

    Sachin
     
  19. fidlerre

    fidlerre Moderator
    Staff Member

    Oct 10, 2000
    Central Ohio
    I've offered to help before -- and the offer is always out there to help in the web stuff -- but only the Legion.04 has taken me up on the offer -- hell I even designed a new logo for them -- yet the information on it is way out of date now...though they are supposedly going to be getting me new updated information soon...
     
  20. Zak

    Zak Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    Massive Club
    Could someone explain to me why anyone needs any pull what so ever with the FO? 137 has been deemed the standing and chanting section, above and beyond that what does an intimate relationship with the front office provide?

    Additionally, is there really a usage for having a supporters group fund? If so what would that sum of money be used for?

    These are obviously leading questions so I'll go ahead and answer them myself

    There are a couple of benefits that a relationship with the FO has provided. Most importantly cheaper tickets. Above and beyond that, has there really been anything that significant?

    As far as having a supporters kitty, it's to great a hassle, and there isn't the membership to warrant it. Not yet at least. There are better ways of outreach than giving out memberships that have various benefits. The tailgates are pretty much BYOB already, and food is usually a secondary item there anyway. Figuring out a way to come up with the money for a keg (which is illegal by the way) every week is just simply not worth the effort.
     
  21. Placid Casual

    Placid Casual Member+

    Apr 2, 2004
    Bentley's Roof
    if you're going to offer discounts on road trips, wouldnt it be a good idea to run some away trips first before offering a discount?
     
  22. Sachin

    Sachin New Member

    Jan 14, 2000
    La Norte
    Club:
    DC United
    1. Dealing with security.
    2. Dealing with the inevitable person in Section 136 who doesn't care for the noise.
    3. Being able to do more creative things than the average fan (confetii, streamers, etc) without getting kicked out of the stadium.
    4. Recruiting.

    If you look at the most sucessful supporter clubs in MLS, you'll find they have strong relationships with the front office.

    Sachin
     
  23. K

    K BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 16, 1999
    DC, Fake America
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Last time I got a number it was we were just shy of 200 season ticket holders (full and partial plans) and then we sell individual tickets in our sections on top of that (we control 2.5 sections at RFK).

    FYI for Columbus people, the clubs in DC have a deal where we end up making money on the individual tickets we sell in our sections (we don't make money on season tickets but we're are able to offer our members the lowest prices possible and we fill our sections). We get the tickets on consignment from the team, we have our own booth and a SE ticket mistress and if you want to sit in our sections you have to buy from us (this helps keep out those who don't want the supporter section atmosphere). For the SEs last year we netted a little over $13,000. It's a GIANT amount of work (you have to reply to emails, work a seating chart, handle money; for some US games that's like 500 tickets) However, the team loves it as they have sections they don't have to work at to fill, we're filling with hardcore supporters and the income for us is fantastic.

    Sachin is right in that the best way to force the FO to deal with you is to sell big blocks of tickets.

    K
     
  24. Own Goal Hat-Trick

    Jul 28, 1999
    ColoRADo
    Järnkaminerna, the largest supporters club for Djurgården is my ideal when it comes to supporters clubs.

    granted, its never going to happen for us, but its a great group. they are all in tuned to chants, they have many, and they are varied. they have leaders who stand and face the group and basically conduct everything. chanting stops when a djurgården player is on the ball in his own end. theyre established, have pubs, and organise coach trips consisting of sometimes upwards of 3,000 travelling supporters (as i said, never gonna happen with us).

    the fans are awesome.

    12,000 or fewer fans will produce an atmosphere two to three times that of a sold out crew stadium for a national team match against mexico.

    again, never, ever, ever going to happen in columbus, but thats my ideal.
     
  25. Zak

    Zak Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    Massive Club
    Sachin, K, how much experience do you have with Columbus Crew Supporters groups?
     

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