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Return to Play Update from CEO Jim Burda

By Hartford Athletic, 06/10/20, 1:30PM EDT

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Dear Fans,

Following the exciting announcement last week that we will be returning to play in mid-July, we wanted to provide some additional updates for what to expect in the coming weeks and months. We continue to very thoughtfully plan and execute to best serve you – our amazing fans. Having only been in Connecticut for just a few months, I am floored by the incredible Hartford Athletic community we have and am inspired every day as we work together to build a championship organization on and off the field. I am writing to share some exciting updates and to continue to keep an open dialogue as we navigate this unprecedented time:

HEALTH AND SAFETY

  • On March 10th we made the decision to postpone the start of our season – serving as one of the first professional teams to do so – followed by the overall measures taken by USL to temporarily postpone the season for all USL clubs.
  • As we move towards our safe return to play with a provisional start date of July 11th (schedule details forthcoming from USL HQ), we continue to work in close collaboration – and are thankful for our strong partnership – with City and State officials as we work towards the potential for safe, in-person attendance and fan participation at Dillon Stadium this season.
  • In just our second year as a USL Club, our consistent leadership has earned the trust of USL HQ to put us in a position to serve on the USL Task Force dedicated to safe return to play protocols for not only our fans in Connecticut but across the league.

WILL WE BE ABLE TO ATTEND GAMES?

In the next few weeks, we will receive details on our schedule in addition to establishing full stadium safety measures and protocols. We are hopeful that this will allow us to not only provide you with in-stadium opportunities to watch live soccer this season, but also to provide additional fan engagement opportunities with other events, programming, and community initiatives throughout the rest of the year (continue below for more on this).

We are working hard to safely deliver opportunities to attend matches in person this season, and should we be able to, we will provide priority opportunities to our season ticket members and partners. We are also working on unique watch party experiences with more to come on this.

REDEMPTION PROGRAM AND COMMUNITY INITIATIVES

To this end, here are some of the new programs to be on the lookout for in the coming weeks and months. We have developed exciting and creative solutions to provide value and unique engagement opportunities as we ask for your help and support:

  • 2020 Redemption Program: Through small focus group conversations with Season Ticket Members and industry research, we will be rolling out an exciting redemption program to best provide value for your season ticket commitment. In addition to attending live matches – which we are still working on – ticket buyers (including Season Ticket Members, Flex Plan holders, and Single Game buyers) will be able to redeem points tied to the value of your ticket package from a menu of options that include exclusive experiences, select merchandise items, and ticketing rollover, upgrade, refund, and donation options including support for our core Community Platform programs (more below).
  • Community Platform:  Our year-round Community Platform and newly established Green and Blue Foundation are at the core of our mission to make our city and state the best place to live, work, and play. As part of the Redemption Program, you will also have the opportunity to donate the value of your ticket package to any of the five pillars of our Community Platform and receive special recognition and experiences in return. The pillars include: Diversity & Inclusion, Health & Wellness, Youth & Family Education, Veterans, Military & First Responder Support, and Economic Development. Each pillar has a growing list of supporting programs that include:
    • Youth Soccer Affiliate Program in partnership with Town Travel, Rec, and Premier Clubs, the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association, and Southampton FC (Health & Wellness)
    • Veterans and Diversity Hiring Expo to connect employers and job seekers in support of veterans and a diverse workforce (Diversity & Inclusion; Veterans Support; Economic Development)
    • #SurpassExpectations Women’s Leadership Series (Diversity & Inclusion; Economic Development)
    • Shop for a Cause event to support Hartford small businesses and benefitting mental health and first responders impacted by COVID-19 (Economic Development; First Responders Support; Health & Wellness)
    • Kindness Challenge day in the community with fans and players teamed up to spread random acts of kindness and raise money for important causes (All pillars)
    • STEM education support for our students and future leaders (Youth & Family Education) 

As Coach Jaïdi so powerfully said in his short essay Together (read it here if you missed it): “Collectively we need to have a long, hard think about how as a community, as a club, and as a set of individuals we can better support one another. How can we take our love for one another, as a human family, and extend it beyond the stadium?” This is the true meaning of #FortressHartford. This is what you have built and continue to build within our fanbase, and this is what we have set out to accomplish with our Community Platform. Thank you for your dedication, support, and patience. We need your help to continue building the Hartford Athletic community we love so much for generations to come.

Please feel free to reach out to me directly at
 jburda@hartfordathletic.com with any questions or comments and know that in the coming weeks you will receive more exciting details.

Regards,
Jim Burda
CEO, Hartford Athletic

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