Tuesday, March 1, 2022

20th Anniversary Edition Update 2: Pricing

What inLeague Costs

    In our previous post, we outlined some of the big changes coming to the inLeague platform for 2022. In this post, we'll dive a bit deeper into how and why we're changing our pricing model.

    Four Changes For a Sustainable Future

    The pricing model for the inLeague 20th Anniversary Edition is live on our pricing page. Now that you've seen the what we wanted to say a bit about the why, even if little of it should come as a surprise to anybody who has been involved in youth sports or Software as a Service for the last two decades.
    inLeague began with a simple "per-player, per-season" fee that was collected after registration was closed for the season. The biggest driver of this decision was our unwillingness to marry our software to any of the available merchant services processors on any of the three occasions we surveyed the landscape for credit card processing companies in 2003, 2012, or 2017. Companies like Authorize.net or Firstdata were, fundamentally, finance companies that didn't have a lot of understanding of or interest in small, agile technology companies like inLeague or in the business cycle of a typical youth sports league. In addition, our customers didn't like dealing with them; even trying to answer how much a league was paying in credit card fees required a hours of effort and a graduate degree in exciting subjects like 'interchange fees.' 

     Our partnership with Stripe in 2020 elevated merchant services processing from the status of 'necessary but unpleasant, like going to the dentist' to 'exciting, even fun possibilities' -- Stripe is a technology company that happens to work in finance and they "just get us" in a way none of our previous partners have. Stripe makes it trivial for us to collect our fees at the time the transaction is processed, in line with how the rest of the industry collects their fees. 

    Change #1: For most leagues, all of our fees will be collected directly from credit card transactions, beginning with registration for the Fall 2022 season. No more invoices.

    Over time, our pricing model evolved as best it could to keep pace with the demands on our business. We added monthly hosting fees to cover the expense of cloud infrastructure based on the size of the league; we added temporary (we hoped) surcharges to cover the expense of integration with AYSO National systems. We offered inLeague Pro, a subscription on our mobile app that offered additional, team-level functions to subsidize the cost of maintaining a mobile app platform. We altered our per-player model a bit to accommodate additional, supplemental programs with registration fees considerably higher than the typical AYSO core recreational fee.

    Many of these fees vary from league to league, and the result is a lot of similar-but-not-the-same numbers that we've wanted to streamline for some time. 

    Change #2: With few exceptions, all of the different categories of fees are going away; no more annual hosting fees; no more AYSO integration fees; no more inLeague Pro. They're gone.

    To come up a simple substitute, we dove into the math on how inLeague is used. Our revenue historically comes almost entirely from player registration, but that's just one of several fee-collection mechanisms inLeague supports:
  • Seasonal player registration
  • Invoice templates
  • Team transactions
  • Event signups
  • Donations
    Only one of these things brought in revenue, and it's revenue that inLeague didn't realize until 4-8 months after the registration occurred. The result is that registration 'paid for itself' while every other fee-collecting feature we offered cost more in support and development than it brought in. Making our fee structure homogenous and consistent is important to the sustainability and scalability of our business.

    Some leagues have add-on services whose pricing is not changing. These will continue to be invoiced annually, as they are not part of our software:
  • Public Web Site / CMS Hosting
  • Domain & DNS Management
  • Custom Services unrelated to inLeague (e.g. Google Workspaces)

    Change #3: inLeague transaction fees will apply to player registration, invoice templates, event signups, and (to a lesser extent) team transactions. They will not apply to donations.

    Finally, we're not immune to inflation.

     At inLeague, we don't outsource any of our development or support. Our team is headquartered in Austin, Texas, which was an affordable alternative to Silicon Valley when we moved here from New York City in 2012; today, it may as well be Silicon Valley. This is not without its benefits: we've been impressed with the rising quality of the talent pool and we're confident that Austin is the right place for inLeague. 

    In making the determination on where to set our prices, we tried to synthesize a result from several inputs:
  • Our costs, many of which have been impacted by the pandemic and its related impact on the cost of living
  • Inflation: Since 2017...
    • Amazon Prime has gone up 40%
    • Netflix has gone up 50%
  • Other vendors in our space:
    •  Sterling Volunteers charges AYSO $25 per volunteer (against their incurred costs, which range from $10 to $100+ per volunteer, depending on their State!)
    • SportsConnect collects a similar, per-transaction fee
    • Stripe and other merchant services providers collect fees in the neighborhood of 3% 
    From the point of view of a volunteer youth sports leagues, there's no question that these fees add up. It has always been our preference to promote more soccer and charge less "per unit of soccer." That was easier in 2010, when we weren't obliged to support live feeds to a National Association platform, a third party background check platform, and two mobile app ecosystems. The minimum viable product to manage a sports league is not as minimum as it used to be, and those requirements have to be priced into our products and your registration fees.

    Change #4: The cost of subscribing to the inLeague platform is keeping pace with the cost of developing the kind of product you want to use and that we want to build.

    Here's what all of this looks like in practice:

Fees Collected by inLeague


Fall 2022+

Per Player Registration

$4 - $6


Per Player (AYSO Integration)



Per Supplemental Competition

$5 - $10


Annual Hosting



inLeague Pro



Per Player Transaction (with some exceptions)


$3 + 3%* (or less)

* Exceptions, Refunds, and Bundling Transactions


    While our aim was to keep everything as simple as possible, there are some edge cases where our fees either won't apply or will apply differently:

  • Donations: inLeague has never collected any fees for donations, and we never will.
  • Team Transactions: Team (aka 'tournament') transactions submitted on behalf of a player already assigned to a team will incur a reduced fee of $1.50 + 3%.
  • Waitlisted players who never play: inLeague follows AYSO National's refund policy. If a player is waitlisted and dropped without ever coming off of the waitlist, neither the National Player Fee nor the inLeague platform fee will apply. The platform fee will be automatically refunded for players who have never been taken off the waitlist.
  • Players who drop but re-register. The platform fee for player registration will only be collected once per program for which a player registers. If a player registers for the wrong program, is dropped, and then re-registers for a different program, only the difference between the two fees will not apply for the second registration (or zero, if the second program is less expensive than the first). We are also working to minimize the number of "wrong program" registrations by allowing parents to "transfer" their registration from one program to another when their players are eligible for both and the only difference is either a refund or an additional fee. 
  • Refunds: We are considering whether or how to expand cases where the platform fees can be refunded. Our models here are AYSO (who rarely issue refunds on the player fee) and Stripe (which only refunds their fees when the refund is issued before the charge 'settles', at some point typically within 12 hours of when the charge is made). We appreciate that there are some edge cases where people accidentally sign up for things; we intend to do everything we can to develop our user experience to minimize these cases, but we welcome your feedback and will be reviewing our pricing model in 2023 once everyone has had some experience with it.
  • Bundling:  In the event manager, we support bundling multiple event signups in a single transaction just as the legacy platform does. We will be adding the capability to sign up for events as a part of player registration in time for 2023 registration.

    We do not currently support 'shopping cart' registrations where multiple players may be registered for a program in a single transaction, but this is a possibility for future development. 

Timing: When Does This Happen? 

    The new fee schedule will go into effect for Fall 2022 Registration, which we anticipate going live in mid to late April. Spring 2022 registrations are unaffected and will be the last invoices billed under the previous model. For fee collections independent of registration like the event manager, invoice templates, and team transactions, the new fee schedule will go live in early April.

    20th Anniversary Edition Update 1: Features

    What inLeague Does


           We began work on the 20th Anniversary Edition of inLeague in the Spring of 2020 with several goals in mind:

    • Mobile & Browser Unification: We wanted a single, mobile-focused but desktop-capable experience such that any feature available in one could be made available in the other without additional development.
    • Modern Development Tools: We wanted to leverage advances in modern, front-end languages and tooling that would enable inLeague to support the kinds of features and user experience everyone expects in 2022 while retaining all of the "under the hood" business and database rules that are the engine of our application,
    • Doing What We Do Best: We wanted to re-imagine player and volunteer registration to take advantage of everything we've learned about league management since we began building software for youth soccer in 2002,
    • AYSO National / Stack Sports Integration: We invested hundreds of hours of development work with the teams at Stack Sports and eTrainU to integrate our system with the new association management platform in use by the AYSO National office.
    20th Anniversary Edition - Registration Configuration
    20th Anniversary Edition: Registration Configuration

        Some of the features of our 20th Anniversary Edition:
    • Brand New Player & Volunteer Registration: From-scratch player registration system engineered to support multiple, overlapping soccer programs with eligibility based on individual invitations, player name & DOB (for new players who do not yet exist in the system) or customized eligibility rules
    • New User / Family Experience: Streamlined the New User Experience with better validation and hand-holding for critical volunteer fields like name and DOB
    • Calendar-based Background Checks: No more Membership Year background checks; all background checks initiated for Fall 2022 registration or later are good for 15 months.
    • Instant Sign-On to eTrainU: No more syncing credentials with AYSOU; volunteers logged into inLeague can access eTrainU directly from the inLeague portal.
    • Better Support for Area, Section, and National Staff: Full visibility for Area, Section, and National staff into all inLeague player and volunteer records from MY2021 on 
    • Improved Certification Sync: Instant updates to volunteer certifications from the Affinity Association Management platform
    • Safesport & CA Mandated Fingerprinting: These have been added to our certificate store and are now supported by our reporting engine.
    • Re-written Payment Engine: Registration and Event payments will now use Stripe Invoices, with support for multiple line items per invoice rolled out over time

    Last But Not Least: 3rd Party API Integration

        The foundation for all of the development over the last two years is our commitment to developing open, accessible, industry-standard solutions. In other words: when we write code to pull a roster, or add a player to a family, or invite a player to pay an invoice, it's exposed via our API and can be used by any of our leagues for their own applications without even downloading or logging into inLeague.

        Our API is documented according to the OpenAPI specification and is updated regularly. Our leagues are already using it for reporting and registration flow. 

    The Road Ahead

    Beta: Late March 2022

        We will be reaching out to our league administrators and registrars in the second half of March to organize access to our demo instance for a preview of registration and configuration preparation for Fall 2022.

    Development Roadmap

        The Spring 2022 release of the 20th Anniversary Edition (for Fall 2022 registration) is only the beginning: we'll be releasing updates to our new platform every month or two until we've migrated every function from the legacy version. 

        We'll be working on team assignments, team rosters, and event signups and payments for our first major update in advance of the Fall season. We'll also be updating our documentation and conducting training for all of our leagues.

        Thank you for your continued support as we look forward to the biggest milestone in the history of our software!