Revs reach out to biggest fans

Annual event allows season-ticket holders an inside look

New England season-ticket holders packed
into the Fidelity Investments Clubhouse on Wednesday night as if they were
there for a regular Saturday night match between the Revolution and a hated
Eastern Conference opponent.

Instead, the Revs fans in attendance took a break from
supporting their team on the field and listened to key figures within the
organization discuss the team off the field during the Revolution's annual
season-ticket holders welcome event.

The event – emceed by veteran Revolution broadcaster Brad
Feldman – featured extended remarks from Revolution investor/operator Jonathan
Kraft and chief operating officer Brian Bilello, as well as a glimpse at the
Revolution's 2010 rookie class and a question and answer session with Bilello,
vice president of player personnel Michael Burns, defender Cory Gibbs and coach
Steve Nicol.

Bilello said afterward that the event originated last year
as a way to help fans connect with the team they support week after week. New
England also holds a Meet the Revs event every year where players visit with
season-ticket holders and sign autographs.

Bilello, however, said he envisioned this night as a way for
fans who want to learn more about the club and voice their opinions.

“We wanted an event for our season-ticket holders that is
about the team and what is going on,” Bilello said. “We can talk about being a
season-ticket holder and how you get the chance to talk to the coach and the
chance to talk to the vice president of player personnel to see what's going on
(with the team). We can make this a more serious event for the season-ticket
holders who want that and for those who want autograph sessions, well, we're
going to have that too. It's something we thought was missing for our fans.”

The event provides another way for the club to reach out and
remain accessible to its fans, according to Bilello. Developing those
connections – Bilello maintains Facebook and Twitter accounts and fields
questions on defendthefort.net, the Revolution's social networking site –
relies on maintaining that availability, Bilello said.

“Last year was great,” Bilello said. “This year was great.
We know it's tough sometimes to get out here on a weeknight, but the questions
keep going. We want to be (accessible). We want our fans to have a relationship
with us and interact with us. We don't want to just to be somebody out there. …
We want to be there for our fans. That's important to us.”

The overarching goal is to develop the fan culture
surrounding the team and expand the burgeoning community of Revolution
supporters, Bilello said.

“There's a real sense of community about our fans and who
they are with each other,” Bilello said. “We want that to extend to us. It's a
cool thing. I think it's something that's really unique and it's something we
really like.”