Scores of East Bay Little Leagues are getting called up to the technological big leagues thanks to a new mobile app that puts real time league information into the hands of parents, coaches and players.
Little League District 57, which includes leagues in Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, Pleasanton and Livermore, and District 4, which spans an area from Alameda to the eastern edge of Contra Costa County, are among the first leagues to be given access to OURewards' League Hub in a rollout of the new fundraising app.
Besides putting the leagues' and teams' information in the palms of parents at no cost, the leagues are also benefiting from the San Jose company's new idea. Each time someone from one of the leagues downloads the app and enters the league's code, that respective league receives 50 cents.
The app also features a shopping function through which users can shop various sites like Amazon, Zappos and Macy's and a percentage of each sale goes back to the particular league.
"It is really convenient," said Paige Camastro, whose son took the year off from Little League, but she still serves as the team parent coordinator for Pleasanton Foothill Little League. I do a lot of stuff at kids' games. So I can get on it and send someone flowers."
She and other parents can also check and see what time their kids' games are at and what field it's being played on. During inclement weather, users can also check and see if practices and games have been moved or postponed.
"Fields and practices change all the time, so it's nice and easy to click on it so you can see if there is a change or remind you where you are supposed to be," said Camastro. I am not very tech-savvy, and I can navigate through it, so it is not confusing."
With a tap of a finger, users can go to their league or team's home page, view schedules and standings, check field status and openings, snack bar schedule and shop, including offers and deals from local merchants.
"Working as a nonprofit, especially little leagues, you are always looking to raise (money) and when you can do it without raising a finger, why not?" Ted Boet, the District 4 administrator, said about using the app. "The stats say 70 percent use a smart phone, and everybody likes to shop, so this seemed like a win because it does not cost the league any money."
All three leagues in Pleasanton, American, Foothill and National, are all using the app and are among the 14 leagues in District 57 that have access to the app.
Pleasanton Foothill Little League President Adam Skerl has been involved with the league for seven years and said Foothill has its own mobile version for the league website but there are a lot more steps to access it. With League Hub, Pleasanton Foothill Little League's information is at his fingertips.
"It definitely cuts down the time," said Skerl, who is one of many volunteers for the league and is serving his first term as president. "It is a nice feature, and, let's be honest, when you are not using something every day you won't remember, but this is something parents will see all the time."
Harry Soza, president and chief executive officer of Silicon Valley-based OURewards, said the idea behind the app was to give busy families something easy to access and at the same time provide groups with a way to raise funds.
"I remember what it was like trying to remember what field you were on and having to call home and tell whoever was there to look on the refrigerator at the schedule," said Soza.
OURewards selected District 57 as one of the pilots because of the work it did with running and securing the new Little League World Series division last year, said Soza.
The plan is to expand the app to other Bay Area little leagues with San Jose next on the list. The company also plans to debut its soccer app, My Club Hub, in the Midwest with Eclipse Select, a nationally recognized program based in Chicago's suburbs, with the hope that soccer leagues in the East Bay like the Danville-based Mustang Soccer program would pick up the app too.
"The technology is such that we can set up leagues very quickly," said Soza. "They can be operational in a day."
The app is available for Android and iPhone platforms.