Website – https://leagueapps.com/
Email – email@example.com
Twitter – @twittyhoops
Brian Litvack is the CEO & Co-Founder of LeagueApps, a youth sports management platform. LeagueApps is dedicated to empowering youth sports organizers so they can follow their mission and supercharge their impact. Brian is a New York City Board Member of the Positive Coaching Alliance. Previously, Brian was part of the founding team at Sportsvite and held various business development roles at CBS Sports, College Sports Television and the Official College Sports Network.
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Take some notes as you listen to this episode with Brian Litvack, CEO & Co-Founder of LeagueApps.
What We Discuss with Brian Litvack
- His experience with team sports and the impact it had on him growing up
- “You’re going to win sometimes, you’re going to lose sometimes, but if you can do it with character and with sportsmanship it’s usually a lot more honorable and better in the long term.”
- Building his own college basketball website twittyhoops.com
- Why he’s a fan of Mid-American Conference Basketball, Michigan Football, & St. John’s Basketball
- His first company, Sportsvite
- Why he made the pivot to LeagueApps, a sports management platform
- Moving from adult sports to youth sports with LeagueApps
- “We work with the right partners or the right sports organizations to ultimately be a partner in creating the best experiences and have an impact in how sports is organized and played in communities throughout the country.”
- The rising cost of youth sports and the impact on accessibility for all kids
- LeagueApps “Fun Play” partner program that provides the platform for free to sports organizations
- “If you have a terrific coach, you have a better experience.”
- The difference in youth sports and parents 20 years ago compared to today
- “Parents are more invested financially and therefore that like impacts their emotion.”
- The danger in trying to make everyone “elite”
- “If you don’t care about the mission of creating amazing experiences within sports communities, like, why are you doing it?”
- New innovations coming from LeagueApps
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THANKS BRIAN LITVACK
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TRANSCRIPT FOR BRIAN LITVACK – CEO & CO-FOUNDER OF LEAGUEAPPS – EPISODE 662
[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host Jason Sunkle tonight, and we are proud to welcome to the podcast. Brian Litvack, CEO, and co-founder at LeagueApps. Brian, welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.
[00:00:12] Brian Litvack: Thank you guys. Thank you for having me besides the thrill and honor of being on the podcast.
I want to let the world know that we are also partners in that league apps. My company has been working with Head Start Basketball for, I saw over six years, so very cool to have that relationship and great to be talking to you.
[00:00:32] Mike Klinzing: It’s kind of amazing. Seems like it was just yesterday that I got connected to League Apps.
And as we talked about before the pod, it’s been one of those things that has made my life as a camp director, way easier. I think about how I used to do it before with Excel spreadsheets and paper registrations and typing everything from the paper registrations into my Excel spreadsheet. And obviously needless to say, league apps has made that whole process.
So much easier shifting everything online. So, Brian, I want to start by going back in time to when you were a kid, tell us a little bit about how you got into sports when you were younger and just give us a little bit of your background.
[00:01:11] Brian Litvack: I was dreading having to tell you all that in my high school basketball career, I scored a total of three points.
I made a three pointer from the corner as time ran down my sophomore year at JV in the last minute of garbage time. and got mobbed by the rest of my team as my coach demanded that everyone passed me the ball and I put up about five shots in that last minute. But finally drained one little did I know at the time it would be my first and last basket of organized basketball in my life, but I played it’s a little different than it is today. I played every single sport until no one would take me anymore. Right. so growing up, it was, it was anything with a bat or a ball or a glove and, and then played baseball through high school.
But always just wanted to be playing sports or around sports throughout my childhood. And what I like to say at league apps is we have over a hundred people on our team who wake up in the morning and look in the mirror. And they see they’re ready playing game seven of a championship or run a marathon or, play one on one.
And then they sit in front of computers all day and work on building software but that’s very much what sports is it helps kind of build character. I feel like I still have an athlete mindset and most analogies I use in my life, whether it’s work or home, or we were talking about our kids before or sports analogies.
So very blessed to have such fond memories of everything I learned through team sports and how much I enjoyed it throughout my childhood.
[00:02:44] Mike Klinzing: What’s something that you feel like you’ve taken away from your sports experience that has direct application to what you’ve been able to do in the business world?
[00:02:53] Brian Litvack: I think the competition and understanding like winning and losing, and you’re going to, both things are going to happen. and that when you lose, it’s just not as much fun when you win, but it’s okay. I think that is something that is so clear in sports and that if you can bring that to your, to the rest of your life.
And I think I’ve done that we’ll talk a little bit, but I built this company for over a decade and there’s lots of wins and losses and, and there’s highs and lows and sometimes it can be devastating, but if you leave it all on the field, talking about sports analogies and, and you really put everything you have into it you can have, you can be very proud of what you accomplished.
And I think losing is something you learn in sports and how to do it. One of the first value for league apps is sportsmanship. With the recognition you’re going to win. Sometimes you’re going to lose sometimes, but. If you can do it in a way with character and with sportsmanship it’s usually a lot more honorable and better in the long term.
So most of the values in our company are very much tied to things you learn playing sports, and even some of the things slogans like sportsmanship directly come from playing sports.
[00:04:07] Mike Klinzing: When did technology start to catch your eye and become something that grabbed your interest?
[00:04:15] Brian Litvack: I was a freshman in college when Napster came out and when I just sat in my dorm room, when we had high speed internet and, and just fell in love with everything that you can do on the internet.
And by my senior year, I had built my own college basketball website called twittyhoops.com. and, and like you mentioned before, to me, Mike, when you built the website for, for head start before league apps, it was, I learned how to do it all on my own. I used oh man, I forgot what the program was.
One of those early web writer tools and it was just writing it about college basketball because I I’ve always just been super fascinated by it. And I, oh, sorry. I realized I fell in love with how the internet can give you such kind of impact in the world and let you have a voice and let you do things that you didn’t know were otherwise possible.
I had a business degree. I was looking at jobs on wall street, I’m from New York and then said, I need to work in college sports websites. And I went to a company called the official college sports network that made the websites for athletic departments and did that for hundreds of schools in California.
And from there went down a path of, of working in sports and technology. And, and I always thought these are just two things that I’m so fascinated by and love so much. One of the things I enjoy most about league apps is all of our partners and customers just have such passion for what they do talking to you about your camps before the, before the show.
And, and I said, if I could make a career out of working in sports and technology that would be pretty cool. So I’ve always thought hard about how technology in sports go together. You know, sports tech is now more and more. of an industry and category. But even before it was, I was pretty awestruck by the opportunity and the possibilities.
And going back to college basketball, I have to say, I see you’re a Kent State guy. I am a big Mid-American conference fan.
[00:06:22] Mike Klinzing: All right. Who’s your favorite player? That’s come out of the MAC?
[00:06:25] Brian Litvack: So the, so the question is why my dad is a 1967 graduate of bowling green state university. All right. They had not gone to the tournament since the year after he graduated.
And I have to say I, so I was always one of the ways I learned about the internet was trying to get bowling green scores on prodigy and a guy you definitely know who is a league apps partner as well. Shane Kline Romanski. One of my favorite. And I tried, I tell them this once he didn’t believe anything.
I said, I was like, you were one of my favorite basketball players as a kid. But because of that connection, I’ve, I’ve always rooted for the Mac teams in the tournament or keep an eye on them. And I’ll tell you my I’ll tell you my favorite Mac player, Antonio gates. That is my favorite Mac player.
I, well, that’s like a trick question one. Yeah.
[00:07:18] Mike Klinzing: Right, exactly. And
[00:07:19] Brian Litvack: Let me explain why, because back in the day, the, the Mid-American conference tournament at the Q, which was then the Gund arena would run a deal where if you brought Macaroni and cheese, you could get into the games, the tournament games for free.
And I remember going to the gund arena and watching Antonio Gates play in the tournament. And he just looked like a man amongst a bunch of boys when he was playing for Kent state. Like everyone else in the Mid-American conference looks nothing like Antonio Gates. There’s no wonder why he ended up playing football.
[00:07:49] Mike Klinzing: Right. There you go. And considering he ended up being a hall of fame tight end. Yeah. It’s not, it’s not surprising that he stood out. I thought, I thought I’d share that with you.
[00:07:55] Brian Litvack: So there you go. but over the years Wally Sczerbiak, who’s from long island and, and I started playing high school. Or Gary Trent, or whenever, whenever the Mac had like a good team, I, I was, I was in the know during the winter hoping they would be a Cinderella story.
So go Mac sports.
[00:08:14] Mike Klinzing: All right. I got a good, I got a good Mac story for you. So I’ve told this story a couple times on the podcast and it’s not the story didn’t originate with me, but I don’t know if you remember Dave Jameson. Who played at OU he was drafted by the rockets he played during the era. When I was there, I think he probably got to OU maybe in 86 and graduated in 90, but Dave was just an incredible shooter.
And so we had on a local high school coach here, TK Griffith from a Archbishop Hogan high school in Akron and TK told this story about one of Dave’s teammates, Steve Barnes, who came into the gym one time when Dave was working out and just in there getting shots up. And he said, Steve, this was Dave telling TK, Griff, the story.
And Steve was standing there watching Dave shoot for like two, three minutes, just standing there watching him. And Dave eventually took a break or whatever. And Steve said, Hey, Dave, man, I man, you can really shoot the ball, man. Well, I I’d love to be able to shoot the ball like you can.
And Dave turned him and said, you’re a million shots behind dude. You’re a million shots behind. And I just thought, man, there’s no, , there’s no greater story in terms. What it takes to be good at, I don’t care whether it’s basketball or whatever, but you have to, you have to get your reps in. And I thought that story really did a great job of illustrating that.
And I always, I always laugh when I just think about what it takes to be such a great shooter.
[00:09:36] Brian Litvack: That’s like a Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours. Right, right. To be expert at your craft. It’s an and yes, it’s amazing. Now that it’s all on YouTube, right. You know, step Gar makes a hundred shots in a row. But even with Dave, Jamesons, we’re putting up thousands of shots or millions of shots in that case.
[00:09:52] Mike Klinzing: question, no question about that. When you think about your all time, favorite college basketball team who jumps out right away?
[00:09:59] Brian Litvack: I, for better or worse, I am a diehard St. John’s fan and I fell
[00:10:04] Mike Klinzing: Walter Berry, Chris Mullin.
[00:10:08] Brian Litvack: And that team. So unfortunately, I’m just young enough where I became a fan, like a year or two after those teams.
Oh, alright. So, so like Malik, Sely. Yep. Was, was my, my all time, favorite college basketball player. And now I’m taking my kids to St. John’s games. I don’t know if that’s a punishment or, or not because they have not won a tournament game in this decade or this century.
[00:10:29] Mike Klinzing: It’s definitely not the same as it used to be when Louie was there.
[00:10:32] Brian Litvack: No, but but I’m also lucky enough to be in Michigan alumni, so it’s been incredible to watch that program kind of continue or just kind of come back into such power last decade or so
[00:10:47] Mike Klinzing: Jason, you don’t, you don’t, you don’t appreciate Brian’s Michigan fandom. Is that what you’re saying?
Jason Sunkle: Well, I was just apologizing,
[00:10:53] Brian Litvack: I know they won this year, but I’m sorry. That’s all I’m going to say. I, I go to, I was saying to I go to Ohio for Thanksgiving every year and get the pleasure of watching the, the game, the big game with My, my wife’s family who are mostly Ohio state graduates.
And this was the first year where I wasn’t like hiding under the bed.
[00:11:13] Mike Klinzing: It was, it was the first, it was the first year. You probably your marriage that you
[00:11:16] Brian Litvack: weren’t hiding, right. There are these, there are these cousins and aunts and uncles that are all wonderful people, but for four hours that Saturday just TA me and trash me and throw food at me as their team’s winning you, you probably were like, hiding
[00:11:30] Mike Klinzing: your hiding or a bed or something.
[00:11:31] Brian Litvack: That’s . So this I called my parents. I’m like, I don’t even have to take my Jersey off after the game. I could still wear it. So that’s funny once a decade, I there’s some there’s some light, well, it’s
[00:11:43] Mike Klinzing: like at some point you just look at the history of that rivalry and right.
History tells you that at some point it’s going to flip again, probably. So it’s just a matter of buying your time.
[00:11:53] Brian Litvack: Well, as a college basketball fan, I’ve been going around for the last five years telling everyone Michigan’s a basketball school now.
[00:11:59] Mike Klinzing: Yeah. Comparatively for sure. It’s been, there’s no doubt about that.
What do you think about the dues today? USC and UCLA joining the big 10. I didn’t even see that yet. You didn’t see it. Yeah. Just came out today. I got, I got the scoop UCLA USC, so they, they applied.
[00:12:19] Jason Sunkle: they just got approved in the last half an hour. Mike, it is officially official in 2024, UCLA and USC will be joining the big 10.
[00:12:21] Brian Litvack: Wow. I just went to ESPN. You know, as much as I love college basketball and maybe bringing this back to some, some topics besides your talking sports, it it’s amazing what a business it’s become. Yeah. And how that’s kind of infiltrated into youth sports in some ways a as you guys know, with, with recruiting and with showcases and, and with the chase for scholarships.
And it, it, I don’t know, exposure events. I don’t know if it’s good for the game or not, but it definitely. Has become such an influence that trickles down into youth sports. And as I mentioned, my first job was in college sports in the early two thousands. And to what it’s become now, where teams like USC and UCLA are in the big 10, it’s maybe the natural evolution, but it it’s pretty wild.
[00:13:17] Mike Klinzing: Yeah. It’s so different. I mean, you think about just the way you grew up and your description of I played everything and I’m sure you weren’t necessarily playing it in an organized fashion. You were outside and playing with kids in the neighborhood and doing those kinds of things. Whereas today, kids don’t always have those safe opportunities.
Everything it’s been a theme, Brian, that’s kind of run through our podcast when we talk to coaches, just how different. Obviously we’re focused on basketball, which is how different the youth basketball scene is compared to what it would’ve been the time when I was growing up 30 years ago or 40 years ago, it’s just, it’s completely, it looks completely different.
So when you started thinking about, Hey, okay, I’m writing for this website. I’m, I’m, I’m developing websites for college basketball. And when did the idea for league apps? Just tell me about just the Genesis of how did the idea come to you? And then what was the initial process of thinking about, Hey, could this actually be something that we could put together and, and make into a company that could be viable?
[00:14:20] Brian Litvack: So what ended up happening is, I worked my way into this company called college sports television that was acquired by CBS and became CBS college sports. And, and I had enjoyed the startup part of it and the working on the digital side. As much as anything else. And I said, I wanted to get into the technology and startup world, and if I could do it in sports, that would even be more of a thrill.
And the first company that, that I helped start was called sportsvite, which was like a Evite for sports. Mostly focused on adult sports is no longer organized for you. As you begin your professional life or move to a new city, how can you find other people to play with? And whether that was a tennis partner or a softball team, or managing a pickup basketball game.
And what we saw, we, we did that for a few years and, and the big insight we had is that sports and communities are really driven. By a few people who organized the sports and make sports happen. And, and these people were the ones that were the super users of our platform posting about tournaments or events or pickup games trying to make the best profiles getting listed in our directory of organizations.
And the more time we spend speaking to them, the leaders of our online community, the more we recognize, they just didn’t have the technology and the tools to make it easier. To manage and operate their sports programs and their communities, their leagues, tournaments, camps, events, clinics kind, kind of like what you were saying before Mike, you said, if we could build the tools for these people that organize sports, that’s really how we can get in front of everyone who participates in these programs and the, on these teams and how we could get more impact within communities.
So in, in 2010, we went from sportsvite to what is now league apps, which was basically building tools for sports organizers to make it easier for them to make sports happen. And we’ve been doing that now for over a decade.
[00:16:31] Mike Klinzing: When you guys first started, how many people were part of the team in that initial group, as you’re going and you start sports fight, how does it, how do you guys get that going?
How many people were involved?
[00:16:41] Brian Litvack: So sportsvite was kind of incubated in an office with three or four other companies. There was five or six people on sports fight, and then we shared resources across the office. And we had some success. We had some sponsorships we had good SEO, so we would get a lot of people.
It was actually really cool to see these connections form. But ultimately it was a harder to monetize and a harder business to scale. So we went down to basically, it was myself and three or four engineers. And we had a lot of conviction than if we had built the tool. We, we had done something earlier in the college murals and we saw how much the tools were being used for schedules and for standings and for announcements.
And we had a lot of conviction that if we built tools for sports organizations, that, that it would work. So we spent about. Almost a year building out the basic kind of modules of league apps, which was a schedule module, a registration and payments module, a website module and launched it in the fall of 2010.
And, and I remember again, we started with adult sports. I remember because that’s, that’s what sportsvite was. I remember there was an organization in Philadelphia that one day processed, like open up registration and had hundreds of people register and processed thousands of dollars.
And we get a little cut of that. That’s our business model. It’s like a revenue share where we take a little percentage of the transactions process through our platform. And we said, oh, wow, this is going to work. We didn’t recognize 12 years later how much blood, sweat, and tears would go into it to get to where it is today.
But it was like that, that first early indication, and we had built something valuable in, in technology. They call product market fit. When, when you build, there’s actually a market that needs it. And it’s been pretty fun. As I said earlier, it is a thrill to work with people who organize sports.
We never know what to call ’em directors, or we call ’em sports organizers sometimes are they’re becoming much more entrepreneurial, but they have such passion for what they do. They’re such leaders in their community in so many ways, they’re kind of philanthropic in terms of caring about things that are much larger than themselves.
And they all have great stories and they all, and they all truly are in this because they’ve chosen to spend their time, whether it’s as a volunteers or, or even as a as for their livelihood doing this when they could be doing other things. So when I get on the phone, whether it was at the beginning of before this call or on a you know, customer support issue are, are just kind of checking in with partners or going to an event.
I just love hearing the stories of how and why they do what they do. And it’s fun to be able to in a small way help them achieve their goals.
[00:19:24] Mike Klinzing: Yeah, absolutely. I think when you talk about people who have started their own business, where they’re at the point where they need the types of services that league apps can provide, those are people who have that entrepreneurial mindset and they’ve chosen to be in sports the same way you’ve chosen to be in sports.
And I think being able to hear those stories of what people do and how they do it, I’m sure. It’s really intriguing for somebody like you, who’s kind of been in that space your entire life. When did you guys start to recognize the opportunity in youth sports and just because obviously again, as you said, a couple times you started out with the adult sports market.
When did you realize how far into it did you realize, Hey, there’s a pretty big opportunity here with youth sports.
[00:20:10] Brian Litvack: Yeah. So in, in adult sports most of the big organizations that, that, that are like says sport and social clubs are in the major cities and then otherwise it’s adult sports are run in facilities or by parks and racks.
So it’s not that large of a market. So after a few years we had hundreds of adult sports partners. And we knew it was time. We had built more of the software. We knew it was time to go into youth. I think that, so that was around 2012, 2013. I did not recognize at that time, it’s almost dumb luck of what an industry youth sports had become and how quickly it was evolving until the club travel for profit enterprising sports organization model.
I thought we were going to just go after one parks and rec or town league after the next. And I remember there was a, there was an organization in New York city, actually, that was a small facility. And in New York city, a small facility is like, A basketball court in a basement of a apartment building , but they were, they were like charging thousands of dollars in, in processing all, all these transactions in one day I was like, whoa, what could they be doing?
And then, and then I started to better understand how sports has kind of evolved over the years. And that there’s always been passion and time dedicated to it. But now there’s more investment from families into youth sports. And we talk a lot about, is that healthy? And is that right?
And how does that affect things like accessibility for all kids to play sports? But but it was definitely an opportunity. And I think in some ways it’s definitely pushing the experience forward in, in that more and more families and parents or demanding the best experience, whether it’s competitive or whether it.
Educational for sports. So we try to take a balanced approach of what is a positive e-sports experience. How can our technology software and data influence and impact that? How do we work with the right partners or the right sports organizations to ultimately be a partner in creating the best experiences and have an impact in how sports is organized and played in communities throughout the country.
[00:22:30] Mike Klinzing: Let’s talk a little
bit about that accessibility issue. Cause I think it’s something that, especially in basketball has become, I think, more and more of a challenge. If you look around at the youth basketball landscape, you see more and more situations where the opportunity to play at a higher level against better competition, at least at the younger age is starts taking more and more time from families and more and more money is required from families in order to be able to participate.
So where. You go back to the 1960s and 1970s, you had a lot of the best players being produced in urban areas. And you look at it now today, a lot of the best players aren’t coming from those urban areas anymore, because a lot of times those kids are priced out. I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t know if you’ve talked to any partners or people or what you’ve seen from your end of it, in terms of making sure that we continue to have kids who are maybe socio socioeconomically disadvantaged, continue to be able to get access to the same opportunities that maybe kids who are a little bit better off wealthier, more financially stable have what, what have you seen or who have you talked to?
Any, anything that you’re seeing out there in the market that kind of addresses that accessibility issue?
[00:23:48] Brian Litvack: Yeah, it’s a, it’s an interesting kind of conundrum in that is sports becomes more organized and parents demand and expect a better experience. It becomes more expensive. And if a positive experience is has a cost associated with it does that leave kids out or does that make it less accessible for, for some kids?
And, and that is what’s happening. You, as, as tech geeks, we look at it as how can we help solve some of the inefficiencies in the market? So some of the ways we think won’t, we have a program called fun play in which we give our software away for free to organizations that are most in need of, of help that are doing things in a way that is aligned with our values, for how eSports should be organized.
So I like to believe that there’s no organization in this country that can’t use league apps and use our technology and get our benefits because that it’s cost prohibitive. So we have about a hundred over a hundred fun play partners. Now about one of every 10 new partnerships is a fun play partner.
And you know, what we believe is if we can give programs and, and organizers and coaches who are doing this well better technology, they can enhance their experience and be more efficient and, and provide more programming. I, I, I then think, how can we help the club teams or the tournaments be more accessible because as much as they often are increasing their price points, they they’re still, as you guys know, like grinding it out, working extremely hard in a low margin business that that they’re doing for more for passion than, than for profit.
And I think it’s hard for them to create the space, to understand how can they create a scholarship program or how can they have free clinics or how can they work with their coaches to do something in neighborhoods that are might not be that far away, but are different socioeconomic status.
So we’re, we’re starting to spend more time whether it’s for project play we have something called the plays coalition. I’m a PCA. I saw Mike you’re on PCA. I’m a PCA board member in New York and this is such a great kind of mission and message that PCA propagates around the value of playing sports.
So how do all these organizations that are sophisticated kind of work together to help make sure that kids in all communities are getting an elevated positive sports experience. So much of it is coaching, which we’ve learned from PCA. Well at the same time, not having to invest heavily in it or having their parents invest in it.
So it’s a challenge. But it’s one that we spend a lot of time thinking about how can we help be part of the solution.
[00:26:49] Mike Klinzing: I think you make a couple of great points there when you start talking about trying to provide the best experience possible, which the best organizations and the best people out there, that’s what they’re trying to do.
And as you said, you have to work really hard in order to be able to do that. It’s not easy to go out and find good staff, especially if you’re talking about staff that’s, part-time when you’re trying to run a tournament or you’re trying to run a camp and then it’s year round, you have to do the promotion.
You have to do all the things that go along with that to keep people coming back to your program. So you have all that and there’s this, there’s this business side of it that. You have to take care of as somebody who runs a very small sports organization, you have to be on top of those things. And if you’re not, things can get away from you really quickly.
And yet at the same time, you look at it, you say, how can we possibly provide or give back more to the communities? And then as you said, sometimes those communities, even though they’re close, they can sometimes seem like they’re a lifetime away from where you are. And so you just don’t want to see a group of kids left behind.
I think that’s the challenge that people in youth sports are always looking for is how do we make sure that not just the financially well off get access to the best coaching, the best training, the best facilities, but how do we make sure that everybody is having equal access? So we’re all on equal ground.
That’s something that, right. It’s not just endemic to use sports. I mean, you could take that across education and everything else that goes into what makes our society, what it is. And it’s a, it’s an area. Is a challenge all the way, across many, many different aspects of how we do things here in the United States.
So I don’t know if we’re going to solve that tonight on the podcast, but it’s certainly something that we that, that we think about, right.
[00:28:40] Brian Litvack: We, yeah, we, we try to break it down because this is what we’re good at is a software or data challenge. And when I say that in Northeast Ohio how many coaches are there, how many courts are there?
How many kids are there, where is there play deserts how could you build a marketplace to make more coaches or make better utilize field spaces in certain places to allow more kids to play? And I was on a call at the end of the day today with our data. And they’re doing some amazing work of just all the ways we’re going to normalize and use our data.
We have 5 million people register through our platform every year. And youth sports is so aggregated that I was telling them the insights that we are going to be able to glean from this information is going to change how people play sports is going to create. More accessibility is going to let you know nonprofit sports based youth development programs have have access to gyms that they didn’t know even existed because there are private schools that want to give away the space pro bono.
And if we could do things like that to help match, there are so many passionate coaches who are doing great work in underprivileged communities around youth sports that just need the help of the rest of youth sports. And, and we, we, we try to work hard to either facilitate that or to elevate the right ideas or to put the right.
People together in rooms. You know, my partner, Jeremy, I think was a guest earlier is, is, so, is so passionate about community and that everyone who organizes sports is in one big community. So how do we, how do we help each other more? And how do we work together more? And these are the things that our team gets passionate about to think through, how can we help solve and that when we speak about it as much as we speak about our, our software and our futures and our functionality, most of the time having conversations with the people and those who organize sports, who use our software and our platform and our customers want to talk about this, want to talk about how to create better experiences for kids.
[00:30:45] Mike Klinzing: What are some things that you’re seeing or hearing through either your own research in house or through your conversations with people who are out on the ground, actually doing the organizing, putting together tournaments, putting together camps, clinics, what are you seeing as some trends. And use sports.
What direction are things headed?
[00:31:07] Brian Litvack: I continue to think that the best, kind of forward thinking premium product, best coaches, best experiences are going to win out. Now, how do you do that at an affordable level and, and what does best mean it, I think parents and kids have more options today, so they’re going to be more discerning in the next generation of saying, is this really an engaging, positive, fun experience than I want to come back to?
And in the past, you just kind of signed up for the thing that was in your community or whatever coach was like the most impressive or did the best marketing. But I’m hopeful that each generation gets smarter and more, more, not more demanding of how you get a college scholarship, but more demanding of how is this really going to be the best experience for my child?
And is as discerning about their sports programs as they are about what school they would go to or other things what doctor they would send their kid to. So I, that technology, which you know, is coming down in cost more tools more software, more video you know, more training for coaches and staff.
I think it and this is something I learned in PCA. Like if you have a terrific coach, you have a better experience. Right? Absolutely. There’s no doubt. You know, one thing I say, we have to talk about this, actually, Mike like if you put your values front end center on your website, you’re going to attract people who are attracted to those values.
If you put your college commits on the front of the website, you’re going to get people who care about that. Right. So how do you, how do we help educate the people who organize sports? Because they do have such influence and impact. On the experience for kids and hopefully being able to also educate parents.
[00:32:59] Mike Klinzing: Yeah. That’s a huge, I think point that we have talked about numerous times here on the pod, it goes back to, I know you and I talked before, jumped on here about sort of the origins of the hooped pod. And we talked how Jason and I originally started out. It was going to be a youth sports, youth basketball parenting podcast, and just kind of help people figure out how to navigate the world, which if you haven’t been in it, it can be very confusing.
And even when you’re in it all the time, like I am, there’s still things that you look at and you’re like, Hmm, I’m not sure what the right decision is here. And how should I handle that? And how do I go about making sure that I’m getting the best possible experience for my own kids or as a program director?
How am I making sure that I provide the best possible experience for the kids that are coming into my program? But I think that parent education piece is one thing that. I really think that when I look across the sports landscape, that we, as a community need to do a better job of helping parents to understand what they should look for in a good program.
And to go along with that than what should their kid be getting out of that program that they’re going to be a part of. And I think too often, what I see is that people chase winning and oftentimes winning isn’t necessarily. Now it winning in, in and of itself obviously is not bad. But I think there are times where parents chase winning or they chase giant organizations and they don’t really understand what it is that their kid.
And themselves are getting out of that experience. And for me, it always comes back to look. I mean, everybody has different goals, right? There’s the parent who, and the kid who wants to get a scholarship and wants to put in hours and hours of time. And then there’s other kids who want to play sports more for the recreation side of it.
But I still think when you’re talking about youth sports, so I’m saying below high school level, to me, it still comes down to one. You have to have fun. And two, you have to learn. And if you’re doing those two things as a coach, as an organization, if you’re making sure that your kids are having fun and you’re making sure that they’re learning and improving, getting better, then I think you’re on to something.
But I think so often we don’t necessarily educate parents with what does. Look like what does having fun look like for a kid? Cause I think a lot of times parents, what, what’s fun for parents. Isn’t always, isn’t always fun for kids. If that makes any sense.
[00:35:30] Brian Litvack: You just said so many things there, that I could go on forever.
You know, a lot of eSports is about the parents and it’s like, the parents experience is what they’re choosing for their kid rather than the kid experience. And it’s interesting how irrational and like uneducated parents come are when it comes to sports that they don’t when it comes to school or when it comes to computer class or other extracurricular activities where they seem like they’re much more discerning, but then it comes to sports and you know, they, they like goo Gaga.
They’re following the shiny objects they’re doing what everyone else in the community does. They’re kind of chasing down what they think is the most elite or best. Instead of kind of sticking to kind of core values that I think if you asked them or the things that they said they would care about.
I look at this generationally that told the two thousands like most sports experience were just local in your community. So most parents in the last 20 years didn’t have this like intense travel, competitive, you know sports experience. They usually just kind of played in their community programs and then played for their school teams.
So I think they’ve been very wide eyed that, wow, my, my child’s going to get this amazing experience with this amazing coach. And this is me being a good parent by investing in them. And they’re going to go to these tournaments and stay in hotels and do all this stuff. And parents got excited by that. I wonder in the next five to 10 years as parents have played club and travel sports, how much they’re going to drive their kids to have that same type of experience, or if they’re going to kind of start to change what their expectation is for their kid’s sports experiences,
[00:37:26] Mike Klinzing: That makes total sense.
I’m going to give a personal example. So my son, who’s going to be a junior next year has always played basketball, but he’s never been a kid necessarily who wanted to go out and work on it and get better on his own. But in the last year and a half, two years, that suddenly flipped where he wanted to get better.
He wanted to improve and he started getting better. And so when I look back to sort of the start of our travel basketball slash AAU basketball experience, from third grade all the way up through ninth grade, he got stuck playing for his dad and hopefully his dad did all the things that I just described.
Hopefully the he and the kids that played with us on his team had fun and learned something about the game, but we never traveled the furthest we went was an hour. We played all local tournaments. And to be honest, the experience was a good one. And I don’t feel like we needed anything more than that.
And now this past spring with him being a little bit better player, we ended up going to a different organization than the one we had played with previously. And dad stepped away as coach, and we ended up playing with a group of better players and we ended up traveling. And to be honest, what’s been interesting about the travel piece of it is there’s definitely been better competition, but we’re also playing on.
A better team. And what I also find to be interesting is that the team that we’re playing on is really good. So we we’re 28 and two this spring. And so we have some really good players on this team. And yet you go to these tournaments and what do you always hear from parents? Right? That my kid needs exposure.
They have to coaches have to see ’em and this and that. And so this is a group of kids who are going to be juniors. And I can honestly tell you that at almost every tournament we’ve been to, there’s nobody watching them. They’re watching the kids who are going to be seniors, this coming year. That’s where, if there are colleges at any of these tournaments, that’s who they’re watching, they’re not necessarily watching the rising juniors, they’re watching rising seniors.
And I think about how much time and money that a lot of people have spent traveling out of town from the time the kids are in third grade. And I’m just super glad that we didn’t do that at a time where I feel like. The competition level that you could find for your fourth or fifth grade son or daughter?
you don’t need to get in a car and drive five hours and stay in a hotel all weekend and spend, spend $700 or $800 traveling it just to me, it seems like that is crazy.
[00:40:11] Brian Litvack: We know too much, right. That’s when I’m on, my kids are six when I’m on the sideline. I don’t even want to tell some people what I do because I’m hearing them talk about our local town league, right? Like it’s run by the, the geniuses at Harvard and the NFL. Right. And I’m like, no, no, there’s a few volunteers that are like, deciding if it’s a rain out or making the schedule and they’re overwork and they’re super passionate, but this isn’t like scientists figuring out algorithms of which teams should play, which team each week.
And most of these tournaments that you’re going to it’s you know, who’s putting them together. Right. Right. People. So it’s like, it’s a crap shoot. If they’re going to, you’re going to have the right competition and the schedule’s going to be perfect. And the college coaches are going to come. Right. Because it still is like run by people who are super passionate and, and just trying to kind of make two ends meet, but parents don’t take it so seriously. And are investing, as you said, a lot of time and money, they want the investment to quote unquote like pay off. Right, right. Whether that’s a scholarship or that’s something else. And that puts a lot of pressure on kids that is, doesn’t seem all that necessary.
You know, the other thing it’s the, the best talented kids are usually physically more gifted than everybody else. And it, and that kind of sorts itself out on its own. But there’s this whole idea of like, if you’re playing in the system or not, and you need to be identified early, and then you go into like a certain track that has been the way things worked in the last, I don’t know, 10, 15 years, but I don’t think that means it’s going to be like that forever.
[00:42:03] Mike Klinzing: I agree with you. I do think that there’s that tracking piece of it. People getting identified early and it goes back to right there. I know there’s that story about with youth hockey and depending on when your birthday was that it’s sort of a multiplier where the old, the kids who are just, just make the birthday cutoff deadline, they’re bigger.
Yeah. They’re bigger and older than the kids that they’re planning in. So consequently, they look better and then because they look better and play better, cuz they’re almost a year older than other kids. Then they get access to better coaching and better training and better facilities. And it just becomes sort of this multiplier effect.
So I do think that that can certainly be something that can be a factor. On the other hand, I think that parents just have to keep in mind. And you said it, that everybody develops at a different rate at a different time. And so often I think that what hap, what ends up happening is that you can, you can be very, very worried and all you have to do is sit on the sideline of.
Use sports. I don’t care if it’s basketball or soccer or baseball or whatever you want to, wherever you want to go and sit in the stands and you see parents who get so stressed out and so worked up over third, fourth, fifth grade basketball games that just like you said, there’s, there’s a part of you that would like to go over and just say just if you take this calmly and just sit and enjoy watching your kid play that eventually it’s going to work yourself itself out.
And either your kid’s going to turn out to love the game and they’re going to work at it and they’re going to get better or might turn out by the time they’re in seventh or eighth grade, they develop some other interests, whether that’s a different sport or whether that’s something completely outside of the sports world.
And too often, we just, I think parents get so wrapped up in it and it’s difficult. Don’t get me wrong as a parent. It’s really hard not to get wrapped up in it. I understand it. But I think as you see people who have gone through it, when they come out the other end, I think almost all of ’em would. I wish I had been a little bit more relaxed and been able to enjoy watching my kid play rather than be just all high strung on the sideline.
[00:44:14] Brian Litvack: I’m early again, my oldest is six right now, so I’m starting to see like what kind of sports parent am I going to be, and the thing that so far I’ve been pretty relaxed because I, I, I’m telling my, in my head, I’m playing over and over. Like, I can’t be that type of parent.
[00:44:28] Mike Klinzing: Right. You know but it’s hard, right. Even though like I I’ve said this to people all the time, like I know what the pitfalls are. I know what I quote unquote should be doing. And yet there are definitely times throughout my youth sports parenting experience that it’s been really, really, really difficult. Like not to push someone harder or not to make a comment after a game about, Hey, you should have done this things that I know are not good for my child.
And yet. They’re hard, even though I know it, it’s still hard for me to hold my tongue or it’s hard for me to not say those things. And so I can only imagine for a parent who doesn’t have the level of experience that I have, how hard that is. Cause I know how hard it is for me, someone who knows what the mistakes are and still I’ve made my share of them.
And still, even though I know what I should be doing, it’s still really hard.
[00:45:22] Brian Litvack: This is where like PCA content and, and some of the trainings are just so valuable. And I always am just trying to figure out how they can get, get out there more, right. With some of the things that they teach, because a lot of parents are well intentioned, but are doing exactly the wrong things to allow their kids to most enjoy their youth sports experience.
That’s a really good, how, how have you seen parents change? I can’t first you said you’ve been doing camps for 30 years, so yeah. It’s crazy. It’s crazy. That’s amazing.
[00:45:52] Mike Klinzing: It’s crazy. It’s crazy to me. It’s crazy.
[00:45:55] Brian Litvack: But how have you seen parents change? Over 30 years in terms of would they care about, or their expectations or the questions they’re asking.
[00:46:04] Mike Klinzing: I think the biggest thing that I think has changed is that it used to be where parents were less involved in the day to day of a kid’s sports experience.
So that’s not to say, like, when I think about my camps where there’s always been parents who come and sometimes there’s parents who stay and that hasn’t varied a whole lot throughout the time. But I think that when I think back to when I first started, it was more that
Jason Sunkle: Mike I, Mike, can, I think I just,
Mike Klinzing: I don’t even know if I made a point.
So go ahead. So go ahead and go ahead and disagree with me pre preemptively.
[00:46:48] Jason Sunkle: I think par I think, I think, listen, Beck Beck, 10 years ago, Mike, there were no parents that stuck around. There’s
[00:46:55] Mike Klinzing: always been, there’s always been no, there’s always been a couple. There were zero. There’s always been a couple that have found there would, well,
[00:47:01] Jason Sunkle: I disagree.
I disagree. I disagree. I feel like, I feel like there were so little, like the first day you’d always have like a few stragglers that would stick around and then Tuesday through
[00:47:13] Mike Klinzing: Friday. Yeah. You’re prob you’re probably, you’re probably
[00:47:17] Brian Litvack: parents are literally on the sideline, like trying to see how good their kids getting throughout the day.
Well, I mean, there’s there’s, I mean, today was
[00:47:24] Mike Klinzing: the first day, the whole time. Yeah, we had no parents stay the time today. No parents stay the whole time. So it’s Thursday. So the first three days of camp this week, we definitely had at least one or two parents that were there the whole time. I think like our camps have the way just, just the, the level of play at our camps has changed over the years because it used to be that we would have.
More the better players from the local communities. Now it feels like because people are playing on travel teams. Yeah. The camps have the camp model has shifted to more of the recreational player, at least at some of our older ages. So we typically go from like first grade through sixth. So it used to be that we’d have a lot of really good fourth, fifth, sixth graders.
And now we still get a couple, but more, we still get more of the players that are pretty good at those younger ages. First, second, and third grade,
[00:48:15] Brian Litvack: because, because those fourth and fifth graders are already in a program playing correct. Like they’re already out of like the recreational go camp and play basketball.
[00:48:23] Mike Klinzing: Correct? Correct. So, so it’s, so when you start talking about parents, I think that it used to be that parents weren’t really, they weren’t involved, especially in the camp model. You know, you’re going to camp to learn, to have fun. You’re playing some camp games. It’s not something that. It’s not something that a parent is invested in.
Well, how many points did my kids score in this camp game? Or how did they win? What’s their record parents weren’t invested in that? I don’t think I still don’t think they are, but I do think that parents are so used to being around everything that their kid does. Like when I think about my own upbringing as a basketball player and did my parents come to all my games, my school games, sure.
They were at 99% of those games, but probably when you factor in the amount of time that I spent playing basketball, like on my driveway or at the park or wherever, my parents were never at any of those locations, whereas I can look at my own kids. And the number of times that they’ve been playing basketball, growing up where I wasn’t there either as a coach or as a parent in the stands.
I mean, it’s, it’s pretty low. And I think that’s probably something that’s changed for sure over the years is that parents are just. They’re more invested because my parents weren’t spending money other than, I guess, to buy me shoes and a bike, to be able to ride up to the courts.
[00:49:40] Brian Litvack: I think that’s it.
They’re more invested in financially and therefore that like impacts their emotion. Yeah,
[00:49:47] Mike Klinzing: I think it does. And you can understand it. I mean, when you look at, even this year, so for my son to go from playing with an AAU program where I was coaching, so that gave my son waived his registration fee, and then we’re basically just driving to local tournaments.
The cost for AAU basketball for us in the past has been next to nothing. And now this year we’re paying the registration fee. We’re traveling to six out of town tournaments. And we’re playing at a higher level. So we’re playing more tournaments, which meant the fee was higher. So you look at the investment that we’re making, compared to what we doing.
And it’s not at the time, your time. Right? Right. Exactly. The amount of time that you spend. And so as a parent, you start to see, it becomes not just about your child’s investment, it becomes about your investment, your time, your money. And so now it almost feels like your kids, your kids’ basketball career has sort of become your pseudo basketball career.
And like I said, I know that those are pitfalls. I know that those are things that I have to watch out for as injecting myself. Like even when I was talking about his team, right. I said, we I’m like our team. This is what our record was, but I don’t play on the team. I don’t coach the team. I. Sitting up in the stands watching them play.
But yet I know for a fact that when I talk to people and I’ll be like, yeah, Cal’s AAU team is 28 and two we’re, we’re playing really well. And I’m like, well, it’s not worth cuz I’m not, I’m not a part of it, but yet because of the investment of time and money and just getting to know the kids and the amount of time that you spend with it, it starts to feel like you’re a part of it.
Even though I know that I’m not really a part of it, if that makes any sense,
[00:51:32] Brian Litvack: Sports is a powerful kind of component in many families lives, right? Yeah. So it’s how, how do you, and we think about this often, how do we make sure that that kids have the best possible experience? Because most of them won’t go professional, but if they’re like me and you and they’re reminiscing, if are some of the best moments of their lives and this helps develop their character.
That’s what I think pumps up a lot of people at league apps is they were all athletes. And now, and, and, and none of them made a living, but it’s such a part of who they are. And if it’s all around winning and college scholarships and getting, you know kind of being as elite as possible, I worry some of that gets lost.
[00:52:18] Mike Klinzing: Yeah, I agree. And I would guess from a business standpoint, in a lot of ways is the same thing, right? The, the way that you attract employees is not just showing ’em that, Hey, here’s the end product of what we produced. You want to be a part of the team that makes this software, or is it when you’re trying to get people on board, you want them to be and understand what the culture is, and you want the process itself to be fun and enjoyable.
And obviously there’s a bottom line that you have to accomplish when you’re in the business world, but still I’m guessing that the reason why people want to come and work for you, and the reason why you want a certain type of person is because it’s that daily process of working together to create that final product.
That really makes for somebody being happy as an employee at league apps.
[00:53:05] Brian Litvack: Yeah. I mean, business is the biggest team game out there and most of the time we’re hiring people based on value alignment and their ability to kind of shape and elevate the values in our organization. There’s obviously in some roles like specific skill need, like an engineer, for example, but but we’re building software to help people like you manage sports organizations.
It’s not rocket science, , it’s scheduling generation and a bunch of configurations to settings. So get getting those well rounded team oriented accountable, what we call difference makers. You, it allows us to. You know, build a better product or give better service.
You know, I get most excited when I talk to partners and they can name, oh, well, this person was our salesperson. And then this person is the CS. And I Britney does such a great job on the chat tool. Right? Yep. And so, so when they say that, and this is how they know league apps more than me.
This is the first time we’ve ever spoken Mike, but right, exactly. You have this relationship with these people at league apps. And my hope is they’re all, they all care about your organization, as much as you do and are helping you solve the things that you need in a way where you feel like where your teammates and I’m not going to know that every single situation, but if we bring on the right people and set the right culture, hopefully their.
Going out into the world of our partners and our communities and doing just that.
[00:54:45] Mike Klinzing: Absolutely. What’s been the biggest challenge for you when you think back, maybe you can go back to the very beginning or just recently, when you think about just the journey you’ve been on this one thing, stand out.
[00:54:55] Brian Litvack: One thing that’s different about. So, and I think about this a lot, it’s different about software than what our customers or partners do in organizing sports is we have the ability to scale more easily, right? Each time an organization uses our software. There’s kind of little incremental cost to it.
So we want to get thousands and thousands of organizations. So we continue to grow. We’re a team of about 130 now. And as you grow there’s just different challenges in the business, in how we communicate in our culture in how we work together, things that worked really well in our earlier version for instance, me having relationships with our first a hundred customers doesn’t scale as well.
So I think each stage of the business, as soon as we think we got it and we figured it out, we, we kind of get into the next phase and all of a sudden there’s, there’s a whole set of new challenges, whether it’s with our software or whether it’s process or, or whether it’s people on our team. And, and I’d like to equate it to, if you have this like great crossover move that, that just in middle school, you score a basket every time and then you get to high school and the ref calls are to travel.
It’s like your best move just turned into a turnover. And now you have to come like figure out a new move because it’s not only doesn’t work, it’s almost like negative. Effectiveness. So I think we go through that in different stages of growth with our company as we go into new sports. Or if as we go into different program types or build new features where we just have to keep evolving in order to keep up with what we want to accomplish,
[00:56:34] Mike Klinzing: What are some things that people are asking for, or have been asking for recently that you’re seeing in terms of trends from your partners?
[00:56:42] Brian Litvack: Yeah, one rightfully so. I think those that organize sports are caring a lot more about the experience for the coaches, parents, and players, not just the tools for themselves. So we’re in the midst of building more and more functionality or make it easier. For parents and players to enjoy and enhance the experience.
We’re doing a lot where we connecting to other software tools. So whether it’s MailChimp or QuickBooks or which we’re doing where we’re launching this quarter or Google docs. So how is lead gaps connected to other parts of your workflow? You know, I like to say people didn’t get into sports organizers didn’t get into sports because they love organizing.
They love sports, right? so how do we make it easier for them to, to do all that? You know, I, we want our software to be more insightful to help you figure out how many programs you should be running, or how do we use data to what fields are available when and what types of clinics or camps can you give based on historical information?
So what I like about the, the space that we’re. Is most of our partners just want solutions. It just, here’s my problem. And sometimes they don’t even realize that software and technology can solve their problem. So I, I mostly ask what’s the biggest, what’s the biggest thing that you need, or what’s the biggest need that you have before the show, I was trying to kind of get that out of you, right.
Where you want to go with this. Right. Right? You know, do you want club teams? Do you, what types of camps do you run? You know, so understanding, and sometimes it’s a personal decision. It’s usually a passion driven decision understanding what an organization wants to do and then saying, well, let us think about how we could apply software technology, data to helping you get there.
Gives me a thrill because it’s a unique way of kind of problem solving.
[00:58:28] Mike Klinzing: I think one of the things that I’m sure you guys find as you’re talking to different people, is that you have all different levels of comfort with technology, with your partners. In other words, there are some people who I’m sure like to.
Dive in and kind of try to figure stuff out. I know that’s how I would describe myself. Like, I’ll go in and I’ll try to figure out, okay, I want to do this. How do I go about doing it? And a lot of times I’ll just be in there tinkering and trying to figure it out. And then I’m sure you have other people that immediately, it seems like it would be the simplest thing for them just to look at it.
And they could probably figure it out in five seconds, but they’re probably calling up or getting into the chat to be able to ask. So I’m sure that that piece of it can definitely be a challenge for you guys just to figure out, well, what does this particular organizer want or need for us where I’m sure there’s some people that need a lot of hand holding and then there’s others that just kind of go in and piecemeal it together and figure it out.
[00:59:21] Brian Litvack: Yeah. We still have an approach where every single new partner will have a customer success kind of launch coach. Yep. To help them get through the setup. And we talk a lot, especially new people on our team of should we make it more self-serve you know, when you sign up for a Instagram account or something, you’re not going through a person and.
It, it feels inevitable that we’re going to get to the point where people are wanting to get set up on their own and don’t want to talk to a person. But right now every sports organization we believe should have an interaction with a real person at league apps to help them get set up and configured in the right way.
And if they’re really good, it should just be like a high five and a quick call and a you’re, you’re all set. Right. And if they need a lot of help, we’ll hold their hand through it. But I, I think that I, in some industries that has changed when we get a new partner, I like to say. It, I haven’t met one sports organizer or program director that like loves to evaluate different software options and wants to spend a good part of their day evaluating software.
Right. It’s like the last thing they want to do only if they believe it has a solution, but in other industries if you’re a mid-level marketer and I know office level marketer in an office, like, yeah, you’re evaluating software all the time. So we want to come to, to the, the, our, our partners where they’re at with a message of the solutions that we could solve in a way that’s simple, so they can do what they love.
And it’s, there’s a term for it called vertical SAS software. So it’s like, we are building software for a specific vertical of youth sports. And therefore we want to be a youth sports company more than we want to be a software company. And that gives us a lot of kind of mission and purpose.
[01:01:09] Mike Klinzing: Yeah, I would agree.
I think that that is really a good way to approach it because you could clearly in theory, separate the technology from the youth sports side of it. But I think if you have an understanding, you bring people onto your team, which I know you have that have a passion, not just for the technology side of it, but also have a passion for who the technology is going to serve.
And in many cases, those people could very well have been sports organizers themselves, or may very well be sports organizers, right?
[01:01:41] Brian Litvack: That’s going back to that’s exactly right. Right. I tell our support team all the time. You’re the voice of lead apps. Like if you, like, all you have to do is match the amount that they care.
You don’t even have to have the right answer for them around some of the esoteric things that need to happen. When a registration gets messed up, our password gets lost. So it’s just, just care as much as they care and you’ll work on it and figure it out together. But I think it’s if you don’t care about the mission of creating amazing experiences within sports communities, like, why are you doing it like, right.
No one, no one that works with you or coaches in your program, doesn’t get like such fulfillment and satisfaction out of hanging out with the kids every day and teaching them basketball. And I would like to believe it’s the same for us.
[01:02:33] Mike Klinzing: And that comes across. Right. I think that when you start talking about your culture and you start talking about the interactions with your partners, when you have somebody who’s passionate, not just about, as I said, the technology, but they’re also passionate about the sports side of it.
I think anybody who’s on my end, who is a sports organizer and has programming. They want somebody on that other end of that line that cares about both pieces of it. That kind of gets like, Hey, here’s what I’m trying to do. Here’s why I’m trying to do that. Can you make it easier for me? Like I said, when I go back to.
My time pre league apps. And I think about just going out to my mailbox and collecting all those registration forms, I think I still have boxes of them down in my basement where I’ve got whatever 400 registrations in an envelope with people’s emails and just having to just having to decipher their writing and the, the spellings.
And then when you started getting into, okay, I have to start collecting email addresses. And then who knows what those things look like when you’re trying to, it’s one thing to try to sort out someone’s name and oh, you’re off one letter and big deal. But obviously when you do that with an email and you’re trying to transpose it from a written registration form, I just, I think about the amount of time that I was wasting.
And again, at that time I wasn’t wasting because it was the only way that I had available to me, but just how much more efficient I am and just able to, to do so many more things, because what you guys have done works well and works perfectly for what I needed to do. And look, this isn’t a commercial for league, but it certainly, it’s certainly something that.
It’s it’s worked tremendously well for me. And that’s really all you can ask for as somebody who’s trying to organize their programs is that, Hey, if this thing does what it’s supposed to do and it’s done. So without fail ever since I’ve been with you guys,
[01:04:19] Brian Litvack: That’s great to hear motivates us and inspires us.
And you know, all these features coming out that I’ll make sure I’ll be ping you now.
[01:04:28] Mike Klinzing: All right. When you look ahead, last question. When you look ahead over the next two, three years, what do you see as a direction that you want ahead with league Ash? Is there something that two or three years from now you’re like, man, I hope that we have this in place.
[01:04:45] Brian Litvack: Yeah, we spent the last decade or so doing eSports management, which is registration payment, schedule messaging, communication reporting. And, and we’ve tried to conceivably come up with like every single which way you can configure your league event, camp club, team tournament.
I’m excited to start to solve more of the other needs of an organization which is the admins, but also the coaches, parents, and players. So we’re looking at things like travel insurance background checks. Video solutions, coaching tools, scouting or recruiting evaluations and like report coaching reports and saying, how do we either connect or integrate with the best platforms in those spaces, build it ourselves or our partner with organizations doing cool things so that we’re really solving using software to solve more and more of every aspect of how sports happens in communities.
So there’s some cool innovation and stuff coming out on our end over the next year or so that I’m so excited to bring to our partners and to all sports communities.
[01:06:00] Mike Klinzing: Yeah. Those are some really cool ideas. I think that from a camp standpoint, I know one of the things that I’ve always thought about is camp evaluations and.
Always a challenge. When you thinking about, well, how much time do you have to be able to spend with a kid to be able to do a real evaluation and then having your asking your coaches to fill that out? So it’s actually meaningful for a kid, but that’s something that man, if it could be integrated and there was a seamless way to be able to provide that, I think that’s something that would give a ton of value to what we’re doing.
And so I hear exactly what you’re saying. And to me that makes a lot of sense because a lot of those things that you mentioned are things that basketball organizations and specifically are, are looking for and are already using. And if you could become that one stop shop, either through things that you guys have created yourselves, or as you said, by partnering with other organizations, to me, you become that one stop shop where now I can get all those things right through my relationship with league apps seems like from a business standpoint, that’s a no brainer.
[01:06:59] Brian Litvack: Yeah, that’s very much the direction we want to go. And I think that’s a perfect example. Like it, it would be so great to be able to give a full evaluation with video clips, to every camper at the end of their session. How do we make that so easy, right? Yeah, because if it’s not, you’re already so busy and the coaches are so busy that if you’re asking them to do like a ton of work at the end of the day, it’s hard.
But if you made it, so they just on their cell phone, can tag make a video message or audio message next to a clip that was automatically cut from a camera that was hanging in the gym. All of a sudden it’s a lot easier it’s feasible.
[01:07:34] Mike Klinzing: For sure. For sure. Brian, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time tonight outta your schedule before we get out, can you share how people can find out more about league apps, how they can connect with you, reach out to you, whether you want to share website, social media, whatever you feel comfortable.
And then I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.
[01:07:51] Brian Litvack: Yep. Whether you organize sports or you just want talk sports, you can find me at leagueapps.com is our company. My email is just Brian@leagueapps.com So with an i, shoot me a note on Twitter, @twittyhoops. And you could also find me on Instagram.
I think I’m twittyhoops. So going back to the basketball game. So if you follow me on Twitter, there’s a lot of lamenting St. John’s inability to recruit and win. And then a lot of like what the hell am I doing with my kids? There you go. Outta shape.
[01:08:26] Mike Klinzing: You’re sentencing them. You’re sentencing. ’em to be St. John’s fans, huh?
[01:08:31] Brian Litvack: Yep. Yep.
[01:08:33] Mike Klinzing: All right. Well, Brian, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time outta your schedule to join us tonight. It’s been a lot of fun getting a chance to talk to you. And as, as I said, it’s not a commercial for league apps, but certainly if you are out there and you have a need for you sports management software I think you can’t go you can’t go wrong. You can’t do any better than what Brian and his team at league apps are doing. So again, thank you, Brian. And thanks to everyone out there for listening, and we will catch you on our next episode.