Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Customer “service?”

OnGoal has been the owner of our beloved Kansas City Wizards for two years now. There have been many wonderful things done since they took over ownership: new stadium plans, a temporary home, and they are showing some signs of support towards the group of fans who stand in the Cauldron.

Their stated goal is to grow the Cauldron through a grassroots campaign. Those efforts paid off immensely last season with a huge influx of fans to the section. I admire the work that has been done by both OnGoal and the leadership of the Cauldron, however there are storms-a-brewing which may result in those efforts being for naught.

Customer service should be a primary tenet of OnGoal.

During the middle of last season up to 3:00 pm, the Friday before game day Cauldron tickets were reduced in price, below the level of what Cauldron season ticket holders paid, in an effort to continue to grow the section. OnGoal promised to compensate the Cauldron STHs for this with the offer of a jersey at cost. Here we are, a year later, and we still have yet to see the fulfillment of this promise. And no, free customization does not count.

Community America Ballpark was chosen as the temporary home of our team. To accommodate the Cauldron, the left field berm was paved and bleachered. This cost has been passed on to the Cauldron in the form of higher ticket prices compared to previous years. Not in and of itself a big deal, but the way in which it was accomplished left a bitter taste in the mouth of some fans thus spawning the creation of this collective.

Since the collective started, pressure behind the scenes has been brought to bear on another member of this collective to edit a post critical of the Cauldron in CAB. The tactic was effective and the offending entry was changed. Nothing was said publicly by the blogger but it was certainly noticed by regular readers.

We move to this season and the discovery that it is possible again to buy Cauldron tickets cheaper than STH prices (granted it’s by a minuscule amount but cheaper nonetheless). This, despite claims by OnGoal , they would not undercut their valued STH base like they had done last season.

When this was pointed out on Big Soccer, there was quite a dustup as a member of the organization came in to defend the action. Might this have been the same person referred to in the Collective post: Wizards Employee May Not Support First Amendment Rights. And if it was, perhaps said person has been pressuring others to change posts as well. Or maybe even call in a flash mob of non-employees to help stoke the fires of support for the team.

As the owners of the Wizards, OnGoal should have customer service as one of their top priorities. They have reportedly 10K paying customers for every home game. Keeping those customers happy should be nearly as important as putting quality on the pitch. Currently, OnGoal is not doing so well on the former. I can only hope this situation improves.

This has been,
Baine’s hunt and peck finger.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Looking at all the Wizards information out there yesterday, I came across this post over on Kansas City Soccer Review, with some of the news of the day for the Wizards. After looking at the first link, I had the same view as the author, now you can basically get a berm ticket for the price of a Cauldron ticket? The second thought that crossed my mind is what is this going to do to Cauldron season ticket holders?

Now I'm sure someone in the Wizards front office will say that it's only for a few games, and not the entire season, but that's the same thing the team said last year when they started offering cheaper Cauldron tickets last season as well. At that time, Cauldron season ticket holders were promised some sore of compensation for the fact that tickets for the section became cheaper then the price season ticket holders paid for it. The rumor at the time was that the compensation would be the ability to get one of this years jerseys at cost. Here we are in June of 08 and we're still waiting on some kind of compensation from the team. And no, free customization for ALL season ticket holders does not compensate Cauldron season ticket holders.

What will the Wizards front office say to season ticket holders once this becomes the standard ticket price for the rest of the season? What kind of promise will be made to those of us that have supported the Wizards the past two seasons and have seen them undercut the price that season ticket holders pay?

And in all honesty, who didn't see something like this coming? The Wizards over priced their supporters section, expecting the members of the section to just pay the extra money for a ticket in a minor league baseball stadium. The section hasn't grown at all like the Wizards expected it to. More Cauldronites then the Wizards are willing to mention have moved their season tickets over to the berm from the Cauldron because of the change in price. And I would bet that the team is actually surprised by that. In fact there is talk that the Wizards Argentine supporters, Sudukas, numbers will start to drop off, as their members can't afford to pay the raised prices. Will we see the return of comped tickets to the Sudukas? I won't be surprised.

On top of all there, there is also the fact that the Wizards are using two of their "special game" tickets on what are amounting to reserve games. The first was the Wizards Open Cup qualifier, at a HIGH SCHOOL stadium. I mentioned previously my distaste in having to use a special game ticket for a reserve game. Special Game ticket B will be used for the upcoming friendly against Atlas, the day after a league game against New York. You can expect very limited minutes to be played by the starters since this is the day after the game. So we'll be using our special game ticket ($16.52 for a Cauldron ticket) for what will amount to seeing the Wizards reserves play. Call me underwhelmed.

This has been,
Baine's right leg.