On Friday, the six-year-old TeamSnap announced that they received $10 million Series B funding by creating a League Management Software (LMS) program that has attracted 15 million users, millions of whom pay subscription fees, which range from $60 to $130 per team annually. The Xconomy article goes on to say that while “TeamSnap is not alone in the market, it is one of the largest online tools for sports team management.”
Technology has enabled rapid market entry. More companies than ever before were obtaining funds to streamline everything from league management to player registration to coaching and recruitment. It is not enough for LMS entrepreneurs to resolve a cumbersome market problem and build a healthy little business. They wanted to set the stage for something greater and it was intentional from the beginning to design their company and to build their software to assist the LMS community as holistic providers of tools and services for the youth league.
The purpose of LMS is to make it easier for league organizers to manage teams and leagues. It’s that simple. Among many other features including player registration, payment processing, scheduling and communication, managing apparel is on the short list of the total service that LMS providers seek to bring to their youth league clientele. Spirit wear is important to support the community, but gear and apparel, particularly from authentic athletic brands like Under Armour for the athlete, is a foremost priority.
LMS companies have come a long way in a short period of time. Dozens of companies have gained traction, thanks to pricing model disruption and the concept of freemium. Many of the leaders have moved beyond just keeping simple league standings and lineups to be all-in-one providers of data, including weather tracking and by position statistics. The systematic advancements and surging online communities using LMS have stirred the interest of private equity investors.
Private equity firms have shown similar interest and energy in our company. The state’s leading private equity firm, led by visionary Thorne Sparkman, and George Overholser, the co-founder of VistaPrint, have shown invested in SquadLocker. In making his investment, Mr. Overholser said, “Just as VistaPrint made it easier for business owners to self-design and procure marketing materials, SquadLocker will streamline and optimize athletic apparel selection and procurement for teams. I’ve invested in this business because SquadLocker has proven that the improved online experience provides considerable value will attract new customers efficiently and will be the catalyst for considerable growth.” We could not agree more! We take the headache away from coaches and league organizers so that can spend more time mentoring and inspiring young athletes.
LMS communities continue to grow, as millions of coaches, parents and players, see how easy it is to track such services as scheduling games, messaging systems, and roster maintenance, as well as e-mail reminders, payment tracking and collection, weather forecasts, stat tracking, and apparel management.
Athletic apparel is a category that we know well here. We have founded a company that is dedicated each and every day to making it easier for coaches and parent volunteers to manage apparel selection and ordering and in turn improving the athlete’s performance on the field. Our $8 billion industry is ready for some disruptive innovation. Innovative workflows and online tools integrated with League Software will be good for everyone, the coach and board member volunteers, the athletes themselves and yes even the corner store sporting goods retailer.
Companies like TeamSnap, TeamSportsAdmin, SportsPilot and many others are looking to go beyond tracking team activities to offering the ability to buy uniforms, customer decorated player apparel as well as hard goods and accessories like bats, gloves, socks or shoes. Leading LMS companies have embedded this approach into their strategic planning and are now beginning to execute this vision with a seamless integration with SquadLocker’s innovative apparel management software and back end supply chain infrastructure.
We look to take the work of the LMS provider to the next level by providing expertise and bench strength that can deliver five key Web site benefits:
- Provide more value and visits to a pre-existing and growing community
- Address a pervasive market problem. Apparel selection and management, including tracking colors, sizes and check collecting.
- Build a technology that accelerates the marketplace strategy
- Enable a synchronous integration
- Create a win/win revenue share arrangement with equitable exchanges of value for all parties.
SquadLocker Is Ready
We, as parents of young son and daughter athletes, see the need to architect, design and harness seamless and efficient online workflows to progress and evolve decorated team apparel, specifically supporting athletic directors, league organizers, coaches and parent volunteers with the uniforms, player apparel and gear teams need to be outfitted from head-to-toe for games, practice and travel.
Each day, we begin work with one promise – to bring the best in performance apparel to today’s aspiring athletes. Built by athletes for athletes, SquadLocker.com is focused on the athletic apparel for the athletes.
To save money and time that could be best used to train our next generation of superstars, we have built an easy-to-use Web site where coaches, parents, players and enthusiasts alike can quickly access team gear customized on their favorite brands Under Armour, Nike, Adidas and countless others. This customization ensures that the store merchandising is appropriate for the team and parent consumers.
Now, softball, football, basketball, lacrosse and hockey athletes can get the right gear for the sport they’re playing, just as they would when looking for different footwear for every sport. Additionally, our merchandising offers accessories and hard goods aligned with each sport. Shin guards for soccer and helmets for lacrosse.
Driving the best athletic apparel Web sites is software that has dynamic intelligence. Additionally, the brands aligned with each team profiles merchandising are custom. More Adidas gear for soccer, Mizuno and Worth for baseball, Bauer for hockey, and Warrior for lacrosse. Dynamic intelligence embedded in Web applications also enable online temporary flash stores that can feature:
- Streamlined parent ordering of team gear;
- Team order bulk discounts;
- Actual team logos and team branding;
- Player name & # personalization, a necessity for team gear and apparel.
- Most importantly, matching the most appropriate brands and styles with a team profile based on sport, age level and gender
Workflow is linked to a smart database that directs different styles to the store based on the sport, age level and gender for the team. This customization ensures that the store merchandise is appropriate for the team and parent consumers. Softball, football, hockey, and lacrosse athletes get the right gear for the sport they’re playing.
We have built and launched a seamless online experience that will make coaches lives easier because it will eliminate the frustrations of apparel selection and ordering. Having the financial support and business acumen of the seasoned investors we have attracted, we look forward to developing the best platform for the LMS community and their site visitors looking for apparel and gear for their favorite teams.
SquadLocker is seeking partners looking to add value to their community. Notably, we are seeking partners who will collaborate with us and help guide our software development efforts. We are putting the money to work and we’re seeking fellow entrepreneurs in the LMS community to roll up their sleeves with us. Ask us how a collaboration of the minds will benefit all parties.