Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Cauldron in 2008

Supporters of the Wizards that stand in the Cauldron will be back in action in a few weeks cheering the boys in blue. With the season on the horizon, I got in contact with the President of the KC Cauldron, Robert Houghton. I got the chance to ask him a few questions about the section and what is planned for the section. I want to thank Robert for taking the time to answer these questions in preparation for the season.

With the season right around the corner, I wanted to get an update on what the Wizards "most fervent supporters" are doing in preparations for the 2008 season.

As many people know, the left field berm at CAB is being replaced by bleachers specifically for the Cauldron. This will present a great opportunity for visibility of the section as well as allowing us to maximize our impact on the game. We will have more drums in the section and are loking to possibly add some brass as well. There will be a new energy in the Cauldron this year as we build on our size and impact, while looking forward to moving into our permanent stadium for the 2010 season. This is a great time for people to get in on the greatest group of supporters in MLS.

Recently on Oz City there was a post about how to improve the section, one of the things talked about, was a name change. Do you think that the name of the section needs to be changed?

I don't feel that the section needs a name change from "The Cauldron", it fits well with the team, has a history to it, and can work even if the team were to change to something other than the Wizards at some point. Now, as for our specific supporter group within the Cauldron, I suspect that there will be an effort throughout the 2008 season to identify a name for our supporter group and make a push towards an even more organized supporter group within the Cauldron for the 2009 season.

What do you think of the name "The Cauldron" in regards to how it relates to the team name, the Wizards?

As I mentioned in my previous answer, I think the name works great for the supporter section. It does tie well to the current team name, but I also don't think it would be limited by the teams name should that change.

I noticed that the Cauldron has a new logo that is on their website. How did the leadership come about choosing the new logo for the section?

Initially, the idea of a Cauldron logo was floated out on Big Soccer to solicit input from all members of the Cauldron. Unfortunately, as things seemed to do more often than not, the discussion on Big Soccer quickly "turned south". So, after a few really good ideas had been posted, the Cauldron Leadership group took the final decision internal. We discussed the pros and cons of the various proposed logos, and after having some changes implemented on a couple of them, we decided on a final logo to represent the Cauldron.

I've noticed a thread on bigsoccer about working on making the website better. What are some things that you think the Cauldron website needs to do to be a better place for information about the section?

Stu Bentley, our Communications Officer, can speak to this better than I can, but we are looking to make a few changes. One change is to remove the "People" page. This was added back when we were a much smaller group, and since the Cauldron averaged over 300 people per game in 2007, we have outgrown that page. It will be replaced with a mutli-media page that will have phtos, videos, and pod casts that will revolve around the Cauldron and the Wizards. We are hoping to work with the Wizards Front Office in 2008 to produce more in-game videos of the Cauldron that will be housed on the Cauldron website. We are also working on improving the Chant section to have more of our chants with audio as well as text. We also hope to get many of the Sudakas chants added to the Chant page.

I know that the group has done flyers before to little or no effect. But the cups seemed to be a bigger, better hit. What kind of recruitment tools is the Cauldron thinking of using now to get more people interested in the section?

We will have a new Cauldron scarf this season, utilizing the new official Wizards colors. Having seen the new scarf, I can tell you that it looks fantastic and should sell quickly to people in and out of the Cauldron. We are also planning on rolling out other new Cauldron merchandise this season. Another thing you will see, now that we are out of Arrowhead, is more information distributed within the Cauldron on game-days. This will give a greater opportunity to reach all of the people in the Cauldron, as opposed to only the members on Big Soccer and on our Cauldron mailing list. The biggest thing we can do to aid in recuritment is to make the section a "destination". Make people want to come to the Cauldron, as it will be the place to be at Wizards games.

With the new location at CAB that is much closer to the field, what are some of the groups plans for visiting teams?

The goal we have for the next two seasons is to make the corner of the field the most hated area in MLS for visiting teams to venture into. If we can get the opposing players and/or opposing coaches thinking about or complaining about the Cauldron, then their minds are not on the game...and we will have done our jobs! We are working on new banners and signage for the section as well as more tifo's this season. Confetti and streamers will play a big part as well (think Toronto and Houston).

Any specific plans/ideas for growing the section this coming season?

We are planning on having two or three "Grow the Cauldron" nights this season. The idea behind this, is get people in the Cauldron so they can see how much fun it is, and they will want to become a permanent member of the Cauldron. We did this a couple times in 2007, and along with a few other changes, it really boosted the average attendance of the Cauldron throughout the season. Another boost for growing the section is the pre-game tailgate. It has become the largest tailgate in the parking lot and shows no sign of letting up.

Any other things that the Cauldron is working on for the upcoming season?

As with every season, we are actively working on creating new songs and chants for the 2008 season. With the smaller confines at CAB, we are hoping to get more of the non-Cauldron fans involved in the chants and songs. We will also be planning one or two Cauldron road trips for away games this season. Many Cauldron members feel that if someone new to the section attends a Cauldron road trip, they will be hooked on the Cauldron for life.

Anything else that you'd like to say?

Just that I look forward to having the best on and off the field experience in the history of the Wizards. Everyone, feel free to swing by the tailgate before any game and make sure to come to the Cauldron to "Stand. Sing. Cheer" with the "most fervent supporters" in Kansas City. And if you see me, say hello.

Thanks again for your time Robert.

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