On Friday, FC Cincinnati Director of Communication D.J. Switzer announced the addition of the FCC Supporters Council for the upcoming 2017 season.
Per the club’s statement, “A total of twenty supporters will be selected by the club from the pool of applicants to be members of the first ever FCC Supporter Council. Members will meet (for 6) bi-monthly throughout the course of 2017 to help the club tackle and make decisions about important topics such as match day experience, supporter relations and club initiatives.”
This outreach by a major professional sports organization is rare and FCC should be applauded for this initiative. To their credit, in 2016 the Front Office has worked well with supporters groups (SG’s), corporate partners, college students and the general public, but this is another step in linking the club and the community.
One of the most unique ideas about this council is the inclusion of more than just the general SG’s (Die Innenstadt, The Pride, Lowen de Sudens, etc.) and redefines the scope of the supporters culture with the club.
“Supporters do not have to be a member of any of the supporters group to be eligible to selection to the FCC Supporter Council. In fact, we hope to select a council that is an accurate cross-section of the whole Orange & Blue fan base, including members of different age groups, genders, races and sections of Nippert Stadium in which they sit. However, six spaces on the FCC Supporter Council will be reserved for the six SG’s currently officially recognized by the club.”
This policy will allow for any season-ticket holders over the age of 18 to provide their input into how the club can effectively and efficiently work in our region. I want to draw attention to the line on diversity within this group. The club is actively looking for different viewpoints, backgrounds, areas, races and genders to shape the club in the city’s image.
Diversity in our club is important and can also show Major League Soccer the benefit of including FC Cincinnati. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport recently awarded MLS with an overall grade of B+ with a combined grade of 84.7 for diversity in hiring. MLS and the NBA were the only two major leagues in the USA with a B or better grade. Clearly diversity of opinions and the make up of the club is important.
I also think that it is a great idea to get perspective from season-ticket holders throughout the stadium. The input from different sections could help in addressing problems that the front office may encounter. As an example, this group could be very useful in the re-seating process in Nippert to a new stadium. One of the biggest problems West Ham United faced this season in their stadium move was that supporters who have sat next to each other for decades were now re-seated away from each other. This could potentially see those issues before they happen and address them before they happen.
There is also some curiosity on what input the supporters groups will have in this council. Currently they have a great dialogue with the club on a variety of issues. However, could this council supersede the current relationship? I am excited to see how this question is communicated to their memberships.
If FC Cincinnati can show that this group is making a positive impact with the club, they can continue to claim that they are one of the best supporters clubs in the country. I encourage season-ticket holders who feel that they can commit to this group to apply. The ownership, leadership and staff seem to value their fans/supporters input and we should embrace this opportunity.
You can apply by going to the FC Cincinnati website.
Please let us know what you think about this group. Do you think it will work? Are Supporters Groups represented enough? Will this make our supporters a stronger collective group? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
@BryanWeigel for @CincySoccerTalk.