The League (Dating App)

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The League
Interface of the Application site
Type Dating Application
Launch Date January 17, 2015
Status Active
Product Line The League
Platform iOS, Android

The League is a mobile dating application that was launched in 2014 by developer Amanda Bradford. As a members-only application, users must submit a request to be admitted to the dating app by the means of an application. With the intention of attracting only “professionals” to the app, your acceptance and match is solely based on your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. Users may be subject a long wait-list before admittance onto the app. The app has potential ethical concerns regarding the criteria for acceptance, selection, as well as the demographic that currently inhabits the application.


The dating application was founded in 2014 by Amanda Bradford, who thought of the idea after being frustrated by her own online dating experience. Bradford states [1] that one of her models is the Soho House, the members-only social club that opened in London and then went to different cities. Similarly, The League first started in San Fransisco in 2015 and has now debuted in 36 cities across the nation, with its most recent launch in Detroit, Michigan. As of 2018. The League is now available in NYC, San Francisco, LA, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, London, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami, Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Diego, Denver, Seattle, Toronto, Sacramento, New Haven, San Antonio, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh, Charlotte, Detroit, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Orlando, and most recently, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Salt Lake City & St. Louis.


A user can choose certain preferences for their matches, such as location, education, and height

A user can either apply to the dating app through or without a referral. With a referral from a friend, a user is able to skip the application process. Otherwise, a user can sign up for the app and then be placed on a waitlist. The application then scans an applicant’s Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to analyze their “personality.” Education, profession, and age are some of the important criteria included in the selection process to determine whether the candidate's personality matches The League's standards.

Once admitted off the waitlist, a user can sync their Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to create their profile. They are then prompted to select their preferences for matches, including gender, location proximity, height, education level, religion and ethnicity. Similar to other dating applications, like Tinder, a user is assigned matches through the application and subsequently prompted to swipe right to “match”, or swipe left to “pass.” Unlike other apps, The League limits its match assignments to 3-5 matches per day, depending on the level of a user's subscription.

One two users match with each other, they are granted the ability of sending a message. Each match is be given only 21 days until they expire, which limits the time a user can start the conversation. This feature is designed to make users act upon their matches, instead of just swiping right with no intended action. This feature, in addition to the element of the wait list, is what makes The League stand out from other dating applications.

Subscription Plans

A user can either be a Guest on The League, or can upgrade to become a Member. The perks to each differ quite drastically, making a Member more appealing to most users.

Guest Perks

If signed up as only a Guest, a user will receive 3 daily prospects on the application, with the ability to only send one friend request. The amount of time on the waitlist varies by city, by the user is subject to a very long period of time before the possibility of being admitted onto the app. The user is also not able to skip the Facebook or LinkedIn authentification during this time on the waitlist.

Member Perks

If a user decides to upgrade to becoming a Member, they will see an "increased quantity and quality of Matches." They will be able to receive five prospects per day, able to scout 60 more profiles each month. The will be able to recieve free League Tickets, which will give the user access to in-person events hosted by the company. In addition, they will able to see read reciepts in their messages, able to determine if their matches have seen or read their message. The user is also able to customize his or her profile, able to edit their work and education to stand out, or rather keep other "personality traits 'private."

Membership Pricing

  • 12 Month: $29/month, pay $349 annually and get 60 League Tickets
  • 6 Month: $33/month, pay $199 bi-annualy and get 30 League Tickets
  • 1 Month: $99/month, pay $99 monthly and get 5 League Tickets

Controversy & Ethical Implications

Selection Process

The League has received many press accusations for being racist. These accusations are largely due to the application's requirement for its users to indicate their racial ethnicity, as well as the option to filter out potential matches based on preferred ethnicity. As a result, the application has been criticized for being one of the only dating platforms carrying this requirement. In response, developer and CEO Amanda Bradford claimed [2] that the submitted ethnicity data was crucial in 1) allowing the site to become more inclusive, by subsequently welcoming all diversities, and 2) allowing people to match based on their preferences for appearance. It is worth noting, however, that there are additional ways to mark diversity data about users and track it internally to ensure diverse user bases that do not include propagating this information. For example, users could submit their ethnic background information to the application without it being publicly displayed. Additionally, allowing users to choose matches based solely on racial factors is inherently racist. According to research, [3] most women rate men of Asian descent lowest, and most men rate women of African descent lowest, off the bat, without examining individuals on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, one of the most interesting frontiers that is enabled by online and mobile application-based dating is that of "psychographics." In the past, traditionally, people have entered into relationships with those who are familiar to them based upon their upbringings and communities. Psychographics deal more with an individual's passions, interests, and life philosophies, beyond just their familiarities. Online dating is a way to enable connections based upon these more deep connection methods, rather than what may be considered more superficial or familiar. It is an ethical concern to weed out these interesting, innovative, and new frontiers for dating and human connection based on perceived racial and ethnic preferences right off the bat.

On the other hand, the waitlist feature of the selection process has been praised from a user experience standpoint. It has been quoted in a recent article from Forbes that "waitlists are a gamble. If customers see value in waiting, the delay heightens anticipation. If there isn't a compelling offer, they uninstall the app minutes after they download it." [4] The League succeeds in this by making its platform seem as "hard to get," drawing more prospects to the idea of just simply "being on the site" and the elitism that comes with that.


In addition, the app’s selective process of being only for “elite” members has also been of concern to many. While The League determines your acceptance based on your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, some consider the app to be “unethical” in the way it determines who gets let in, as it could be true that members will higher levels of education and profession are accepted.

Additionally, since each member can give a referral ticket, this person can bypass the wait-list and become a full-fledged member instantly. This can be seen as elitist, and limiting to Bradford's mission of creating a professional and diverse dating experience if many of the users are already friends. Further, the app only accepts 10 to 20% of those who sign up, didn't allow members under 40 until May of 2016 [5], and has a demographic that is 95% heterosexual and 99% college-educated[6].

It has been argued that The League exacerbates classism by creating a social stratification and clearly delineating those who are up to its standards of membership. While this concern is valid, it is also worth noting that people tend to date and partner with people of similar and/or familiar backgrounds to themselves. Claims, therefore, of creating a more stratified society as a result of The League and other elitist-by-design platforms, are worth thinking twice about.

Facebook & LinkedIn Data

Because The League requests data from a user's Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, we, of course, notice the concern of whether a user's data is being security used by The League's server. In the FAQ section of the League's website, they state the following:

"Yes, our servers are securely hosted by a top database provider that large Fortune-100 companies trust with their customers’ data." [7]

Additionally, when asked if a user's Facebook username and password is safe with The League, the company states that Facebook does not actually give them the username and password criteria, but rather uses their own feature called Facebook Connect. This feature allows other websites, such as The League, to essentially use a person's Facebook profile to login/logout of their website without them actually knowing user credentials. The League claims to not ever have access nor store a username and password.

While it is assumed that Facebook has safely given the dating application access to a user's profile by the means of this feature called Facebook Connect, we have to be cautious in how much we will allow our data from both sites to be used across the web as a whole. If The League is just one of thousands of applications that "borrow" a user's profile, there must be thousands, if not millions of other sites that are granted the same access. How much are we "Fortune 100" companies will we allow to use this precious data of ours and how we even know what other sites are already doing this without our knowledge?

Monochrome Profiles

The League's new monochrome profile

In October 2017, The League launched its “monochrome” profile, making each user’s first profile picture black and white. The reason for doing so has been said to urge users to make more “holistic” decisions when making a match. While it might be easier for people to make judgments based on the appearance of their picture, it may be harder to do so when the photo appears in black and white.

When A/B tests were conducted [8]before the change, users spent twice as long looking at a match’s profile when the picture appeared in monochrome. Therefore, the application hopes that making this change will urge users to spend more time looking at someone’s interests and profession as opposed to just their picture.


  1. Haber, Matt. "The League, a Dating App for Would-Be Power Couples." The New York Times. 23 January 2015.
  2. Encalada, Debbie. "New Elite Dating App is Racist." Complex. 26 January 2015.
  3. 'Least Desirable'? How Racial Discrimination Plays Out In Online Dating[1]
  4. Miller, Theo. "The League Is A Dating App That Doesn't Play Games" [2]. Forbes. 25 September 2017.
  5. Wells, Georgia. "Dating Apps Court Older, Wealthier Users". Wall Street Journal. 12 October 2016.
  6. Sola, Katie. "Dating App Data Reveals What Successful Men And Women Really Want". Forbes. 24 August 2016.
  7. The League's FAQ section[.]
  8. Tepper, Fitz. "The League is making everyone’s first profile picture black and white"Tech Crunch. 24 October 2017.