The Crew suffered another big blunder, but this time it was off the field. The team sent out emails to Season Ticket Holders to highlight some of the benefits of Crew Soccer Nation. A nice sentiment, but the execution was woeful. They included a numeric value for how much a season ticket holder had used their benefits. Numbers that came off as grades.
Fans were quick to voice their displeasure at being "graded". Some argued that it was the team that should be graded and others didn't like the creepy nature of the Crew tracking them. The timing was certainly off, especially after Mark McCullers comments last week to the Dispatch that rankled some of the same season ticket holders that got this email and a discouraging loss to Kansas City.
The full email (below) does highlight the perks of being a Crew season ticket holder, but the implication is that fans should be scoring 100 to be the best fan possible. The 70s and 80s I saw being talked about would come as a shock to fans who center a big part of their life around the team, go to every game, bring friends along, it felt like a snub.
We value your commitment as a Crew season ticket holder and want to ensure we are helping you maximize your season ticket holder experience. To date, your membership score is xx.x (out of a possible 100 points) of your membership. There are many factors that contribute to your Membership Score, so I wanted to share some suggestions to help you take full advantage of your season ticket holder experience.
- Perfect Attendance - Every season we have a large number of season ticket holders present at every Crew home match. We greatly appreciate these season ticket holders being here to cheer on the Black & Gold each match and recognize their commitment by honoring them on-field at the final home match of the season.
- Crew Soccer Nation Events - Have you watched pre-match warm-ups from the field? Did you meet the team at Crew Fest? Have you enjoyed pre-match analysis at our Match Day Clinics with Technical Director Brian Bliss? These are all terrific ways to get to know the team and its players!
- Season Ticket Coupons - Included in your season ticket package are coupons for each match day. Redeem these coupons to enjoy discounts on merchandise and food & beverage, as well as, express access to Autograph Alley and pre-match field level access.
- Use Your Dedicated Service Rep - Each season ticket holder is assigned a dedicated service representative. Your service rep is Tyler Hill. Use Tyler as your personal concierge. Tyler is here to maximize your Crew season ticket experience.
- Share Your Thoughts - We value feedback and try to provide many avenues for you to share your experience with us. Throughout the year you will receive a number of surveys, and we urge you to fill those out to help us continue you shaping our season ticket experience. You are also strongly encouraged to call or e-mail your dedicated service representative to share your experience.
- Be In The Know - Crew e-mails contain lots of important content regarding upcoming matches and events, along with recent player happenings and other team news. Be sure to read these e-mails so you are 100% in the loop with the Crew!
STH, thank you again for your continued support of the Crew. We are dedicated to providing you with the best season ticket experience in sports. Please fee free to contact me directly with feedback, questions or concerns.
The email was signed by Tom Bowden, the Director of Director of Client Services. After seeing how the message was received he quickly turned to twitter to offer a full apology:
Apologies to #Crew96 STH on membership score. Intention was to encourage further use of benefits outside of matches, NOT grade your fandom.— Tom Bowden (@tomfbowden) July 2, 2013
Several other members of the front office staff quickly scrambled to provide damage control on social media. Crew SVP of Marketing and Sales Mike Malo and VP of Ticket Sales Clark Beacom also jumped in to clarify the intent and ensure that they weren't trying to offend their customers.
Judging from several prior conversations with Mr. Bowden, I have no doubt that he was only trying to help out his customers. There wasn't any malice, only a big mistake. And on a personal note, I've been there and it's tough when the best plans blow up.
Even with Mr. Bowden's apology, the damage has been done and the full extent won't been known for a little while. For a team that could use some good news on or off the field, this is another untimely blow.