Moving to a yearly subscription model for Sports Bench

If you’ve been paying attention to this blog or the monthly Sports Bench newsletter, you probably already know that Sports Bench 2.0 is right around the corner.

And along with the major update, there’s also going to be a major update in how the Sports Bench products (the plugin and main theme at the moment) will be paid for going forward.

My plan is that with the release of 2.0 that Sports Bench will move from the current single-pay model to a yearly subscription model.

As you’ll see later in this post, current Sports Bench users won’t have anything to worry about if they don’t want to. But I did want to explain things in case anyone is ever curious about this change.

The problem with single pay model

So first off I feel like I should explain the problem first. And that is that the single pay model I currently use is just unsustainable.

If no one bought Sports Bench starting tomorrow, that would mean there’s no money coming in to really support it financially. Which then means that it doesn’t make sense for me to continue to support it with fixes and new features. And then that means it goes out of date and you stop using it.

In short, this model can (and almost did) lead to the end of Sports Bench and almost any other software product.

I will say that when I first started out with creating Sports Bench, I was pro-single pay. I was confused by subscriptions for plugins and I had to continually pay for plugins like Gravity Forms. So I get it if you’re not the biggest fan of this news.

But in the end, if the money isn’t coming in for this product, then it doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to continue supporting it, which makes it almost worthless for you to continue to use.

Why move to a yearly subscription?

Other than the obviously direct financial impacts, really this is about making sure I can improve Sports Bench and make a better overall product for you and other users.

It’s as simple as that.

If the money is coming in, then I can afford to spend my free time working on and developing Sports Bench to add in new features, make sure that it still works with new editions of WordPress and fixing other bugs.

Essentially this is you helping me help you.

What will this lead to?

So in the end, what will the yearly subscription mean for both the plugin and the theme.

Well, I hope it leads to a better product for both. Because there will hopefully be people continuously paying for it, I can afford to take time to actively develop it on a regular basis. And the more iterations I release, the better it will get over time. And there are a lot of really cool features (can you say play-by-play) that I would love to add in that this model will make it easier to do.

Also, I might be able to create other themes (like a full-site editing theme) and potentially other add ons for Sports Bench as well. That remains to be seen, but it does become an option.

So yeah, this should lead to a better overall product.

Good news for current users

Now, the good news for current users is that you will be grandfathered in.

If you purchase Sports Bench before 2.0 is released, there will be instructions for obtaining a license key that will keep you from having to pay the yearly subscription. It might be a bit of a bumpy ride through it, but I will make sure you don’t pay anything since you’ve been using it before this change.

Of course, if you really like using Sports Bench and want to keep supporting it, you are always more than welcome to purchase a yearly subscription. But it won’t be required for you.