Monday, July 18, 2016

Pricing (2017 on) and inLeague Pro

Since inLeague first became inLeague in 2006, we have tried to keep our pricing as transparent as possible; and we have always operated on a per-player, per-season, per-module pricing model, most recently seen here:

inLeague Standard Rate Schedule circa June 2016. Prices last updated in 2009.

We chose this model for a variety of reasons:
  • inLeague has always been a premium service targeted at leagues with greater than 500 players. Even so, it was important to us to provide entry points for leagues that were primarily interested in on-line registration solutions such that they wouldn't be paying an additional premium for scheduling services they didn't necessarily need.
  • The average price paid to register for youth sports in an inLeague program was around $100, but most leagues collected money for a variety of other activities (additional soccer programs, fundraising, off-season events); we felt that 5-7% of the registration fee was a good place for a service that kept the league running smoothly, but we didn't want to be taking percentages from "non-sports" events, even if they used inLeague to collect funds. We also didn't wanted our leagues to be the only recipient of their constituents' transactions, rather than having inLeague collect money on their behalf and then dispense to the league it every month.
  • We want to support league growth rather than penalizing it with higher fees.

In the ten years we've relied on this model, we've learned several things:
  • Just about every league uses all four "modules" (registration, team building, game scheduling, and referee scheduling); occasionally, a league would sign up for just one or two, but after a year would end up using all four.
  • Usage of inLeague has changed over the years with the rise of mobile devices and mobile apps. When we started out, our target audience was exclusively a league administrator or scheduler; parents would sign in once or twice a year to register their players and indicate volunteer roles. While we are still primarily a league-oriented product, much more of our development in 2016 is focused on "team-level" interactions between coaches and parents. A pricing model developed for a "desktop" web application doesn't allow for a lot of flexibility when our focus needs to be on products and platforms that didn't exist (for us, anyway) ten years ago.
  • The cost of participation has gone up. In the table below, "Registration Fee" refers to the initial payment made at the time of registration to participate in a soccer program. In many cases, particularly in the last few years with the expansion of "EXTRA" and other forms of competitive play, players submit additional payments over the course of the season. Avg. Participation Cost refers to the median amount paid over the course of a season, and Max Participation Cost refers to the most expensive individual program cost administered by a league. Of course, our leagues are not a representative sample of anything other than leagues that prefer to use inLeague.

Year Avg. Registration Fee Avg. Participation Cost Max Participation Cost Consumer Price Index (annual average)
2007 $89 $117 $1,200 207.3
2008 $96 $118 $1,200 215.3
2009 $97 $104 $1,000 214.54
2010 $100 $109 $1,175 218.06
2011 $110 $123 $1,550 224.94
2012 $112 $132 $1,700 229.59
2013 $118 $148 $1,820 232.96
2014 $131 $151 $1,700 236.74
2015 $141 $161 $2,650 237.02
2016 $151 $158 $2,600 238.78 (as of 6/16)

Takeaways from the above:
  1. Leagues either use inLeague or not; we're better off with discounted trials than with a pricing matrix when everyone prefers to use everything.
  2. The average, up-front participation cost has risen 51% since 2010; inLeague's prices were last set in 2009. 
  3. The Consumer Price Index shows inflation at 9.5-10.5% since 2010.
  4. Mobile development is a priority that the original model did not account for.
It is also the case that, as the cost of participation has gone up, so have the number (and dollar amount) of scholarships awarded by individual leagues.

Simplified Pricing for 2017 (subject to review)

We are retaining the league size scale model, but flattening the per-module portion. The updated model has the following goals:
  1. Long-term stability -- we do not want to revisit our base pricing model for the foreseeable future.
  2. Minimal changes for smaller leagues
  3. Our prices should inflate based on our own costs incurred and the Consumer Price Index. Our largest costs are software development (labor) followed at a distant second by hardware (server expenses), both of which have increased somewhat, but not tremendously, since 2010.
These changes will not impact the current (Fall 2016) season; they will impact any season that commences after 1/1/17.

inLeague Management Suite Subscription Pricing (per season), effective January 1, 2017

  • @500 Players: $6.75/player
  • @1000 Players: $5.40/player
  • @1500 Players: $5.15/player
  • @2000 Players: $4.70/player
  • @3500+ Players: $4.00/player

Enter inLeague Pro

We knew that we did not want to "fence off" functionality to which our leagues are accustomed behind an additional subscription fee. Because mobile development involves technology and skill sets on top of what we use to maintain our web applications, we focused on mobile development as the vehicle for adding additional value to our services. 

Before we could ask for a subscription fee, we had to learn how to build mobile applications and how to integrate them with our products. inLeague Mobile was first released in late 2014, and now supports several features:
  • Game schedules for players in the logged-in user's family
  • Game schedules for referees and coaches in the logged-in user's family (or league-wide)
  • Team Conversations - instant messages between coaches, team staff, and team parents
  • Center Refs and division heads may input game scores
inLeague Pro will be an optional subscription level for leagues beginning in 2017. The following details are subject to change, but the current plan is:
  • Game schedules and score input will continue to be freely accessible
  • Team Conversations and a new feature coming in the Fall of 2016 will become "Pro" features
  • inLeague Pro will cost $1 per player per year (not per season) regardless of league size
  • All leagues have been given automatic access to inLeague Pro through December 31st, 2016.

Going forward, only those services we consider both "premium" and "optional" will be part of inLeague Pro; the majority of our development will continue to be invested in the primary inLeague application and publicly-available inLeague Mobile.

No comments:

Post a Comment