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Pricing For Online Sports Registration Systems - Explained

By Paul Langhorst on 4/19/2016

If you are attempting to evaluate the pricing for an online sports registration system you are probably finding a wide variety of pricing terms and perhaps feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused. Total operating cost will include a mixture of charges applied as discussed below plus credit card processing charges from merchants such as Paypal and Stripe.  

Determining the true cost differential between providers can be a challenging task. To help make your research easier, below we provide a summary of the most common pricing elements and we provide a free Excel-based, Online Sports Registration Cost Calculator. Simply update the spreadsheet with the quotes received along with the registration fees charged by your organization and let the spreadsheet to the work! 

Pricing Basis.

As shown below, regardless of provider there are several common factors on which pricing is based. Providers may charge a combination of these as part of their total pricing formula. For example a provider may charge a fee per registration (either a fixed dollar amount or a percentage) and may have monthly or annual fees associated with the account based on certain services ordered or other factors. sports registration vendor cost comparision

  • Per Registration Fees 
  • Per Team Fees
  • Per Participant 
  • Monthly Recurring Fees
  • Annual Recurring Fees
  • One-time Fees

Merchant Fees

Merchant fees are the fees charged by credit card clearing programs such as PayPal and Stripe which are the two most commonly used providers. Their fees are very similar. Stripe and PayPal charge 2.9% of the total transaction value plus 30 cents. This amount is deducted off the top of each transaction before the money hits your bank account.  If you are a non-profit 5013(c) be sure to ask the merchant provider if they offer special programs for non-profits.  Some service providers will allow you to use a bank or other credit card clearing house, but PayPal and Stripe are the most frequently used because of their cost and ease of integration with online systems. Setting up the merchant account is the responsibility of the customer, not the service provider. 

Note: If you are working with a provider and their credit card clearing fees are greater than 2.9% plus 30-cents per transaction, then they are likley adding fees for themselves on-top of the merchant fee.  This is a way to disguise revenue going to the provider and to make their services fees appear lower.  

Per-Registration Fees

The most common form of a per-registration fee is a fixed dollar amount which generally ranges between $2-$3 per registration.  Some providers charge a percentage of the registration total, which range between 1.5% to 5%, often with a sliding scale based on total revenues or some other metric. Comparing percentage-based transactions vs dollar-based is probably the most difficult task as the percentage based method may cover charges for all fees collected, not solely the registration fee. Be sure to clarify this during your vendor research.

Review Engage Sports Simplified Monthly Pricing Now

Easy to Understand. Easy to Budget. 

Annual & Monthly Fixed Fees

About half the providers in the market charge some form of annual or monthly fee in addition to their per registration fees.  These fees are often tied to a certain level of service: basic, pro, premium, etc and will include certain additional features or services for each level.  Annual and monthly fees should not be ignored when comparing vendors as they can be a substantial part of the cost equation.  Engage Sports now offers simplified monthly pricing which makes it easy to determine and budget for your registration costs. Be sure to check out our pricing page as part of your vendor search.

One-Time Fees

One-time, or start-up fees are typically only applied at the outset of establishing a new account. The most common one-time fee is for creative design work. Providers may offer several levels of themes or site styles, i.e. bronze, silver, gold or basic, premium, etc.  

There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

If you are looking at a vendor that offers their service for "free" there is probably a catch.  "Free" typically means that your are looking at the basic version, with the lowest level of features and services. In addition, free sites are often crammed with advertising or other revenue generating opportunities for the vendor, i.e. offering spirit wear or magazines during the checkout process.  The add-on process can be extremely frustrating for busy parents who just want to register and move on. So while a free system may sound appealing, you may be providing your users with a lousy registration experience. As the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch.  It costs a great deal of money to support an online sports management system and that money has to come from someplace.

FREE Online Sports Registration Vendor Cost Comparison

In the final analysis your goal when comparing the cost of provider X vs Y and Z should be to compare the total annual operating cost of each system.  In order to do this one must take into account all costs quoted by the provider plus the merchant fees, multiplied out across the appropriate basis, while adding in one-time and recurring annual or monthly fees.  Use our Excel-based Online Sports Registration Cost Calculator to make this an easier task, download here. Simply plug in the costs that you are quoted and enter your total annual registrations and your registration fee (what you charge per registration) and the spreadsheet will do the rest. Should you have questions on the spreadsheet, we would be happy to help here at Engage Sports. 


Review Engage Sports Simplified Monthly Pricing Now

Easy to Understand. Easy to Budget. 



Paul Langhorst

Co-Founder and Chief Technologist for Engage Sports, providing sports league websites, online registration and league management. Over the years, Rich has coached football, basketball, baseball and fastpitch softball. He has also severed as a board member for football and lacrosse organizations in the St. Louis area.


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