Considering Utah’s outdoors-focused vibe and über-healthy economy, it would seem that the recent wave of young, educated, active professionals relocating here would be enjoying the best of all worlds, right? Well, yes—except when it comes to dating.
“I love my job, and I love being in the outdoors here—particularly the skiing,” says Jon, a data scientist in his mid-30s who moved to Salt Lake City for his job three years ago. (We decided to use participants’ first names only, for both privacy and mystery.) “But I’m finding it really hard to find someone who’s not just using dating apps out of boredom and is as passionate about what they do as I am.” These sentiments are echoed by Molly, a 27-year-old event planner living in Park City. “Tinder is definitely more of a hookup app,” she says. “It’s really important for me to find someone who understands that I’m not only trying to build a relationship but trying to build a career as well.”
Enter The League, a dating app that launched in San Francisco in 2015 and was rolled out in Utah last April. According to head of communications Meredith Davis, The League “rejects the hot-or-not culture of apps like Tinder and is instead about creating a curated community of singles, with similar education backgrounds and career ambitions, who are serious about dating.”
The League model begins like other dating apps, using participant-supplied criteria to find a broad range of matches. Then, it narrows that pool by mining users’ LinkedIn profiles to create career and education affinities, while weeding out coworkers and other close associations (thereby avoiding the weirdness of being matched with your cubicle mate). And then, rather than being fed a 24/7 stream of matches, The League members—as they are referred to—are shown just five matches per day, always at 5 p.m.—a time cleverly dubbed Happy Hour.
While The League’s professed selectivity has, so far, felt a little more like hype than substance to Jon, Molly declares the app even better than advertised. “I’ve already had two dates with one of my matches!”
The League membership is $349 for a year, $199 for six months, or $99 for one month.