Overtime: Creating a $100,000 Option For High School Athletes

Sports media company Overtime announced the launch of Overtime Elite yesterday, a professional basketball league that will compensate high school-aged players — but what does this mean for the NCAA?

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Sports media company Overtime almost broke the internet yesterday when they announced the launch of Overtime Elite (OTE), a professional basketball league that will compensate high school-aged players.

The Overtime Elite league will focus on players 16-18 years old, have up to 30 roster spots available, and play competitive games against themselves and other prep schools across the country.

As for compensation, here are the details:

  • $100,000 salary

  • Full health benefits

  • Year-end bonuses

  • Equity stake in Overtime

  • Revenue from a player's name, image, and likeness

  • Players retain rights to sign with sneaker companies

The best part?

If a player doesn't go on to play in the NBA or other professional leagues, Overtime will award them $100,000 for college tuition.

For me, given players automatically lose their amateur status after accepting compensation, that’s the important part.

My take on the announcement?

It’s a similar concept to what LaVar Ball tried to create in 2017 with the Junior Basketball Association, but for all the reasons he and the JBA failed, Overtime is set up to succeed.

Here are a few examples…

The NBA already has a “G League Ignite” program, which gives top high school prospects the ability to earn between $200,000 and $500,000 while they train and await NBA eligibility.

The part no one talks about?

The average age of the 13 players in the NBA G League Ignite program is currently just under 25-years-old, including just four players that are 18-years-old.

Here’s the roster:

By targeting players ages 16-18, Overtime Elite can work as a feeder program into the NBA’s G League initiative — rather than competing with them directly like the JBA.

That’s an important distinction.

Furthermore, while the Junior Basketball Association (JBA) employed a tour-based model with teams in cities all across the country, they struggled to sell tickets, pay players, and had no significant media rights deal.

Overtime, which has more than 45 million followers across social platforms and an investor list that includes Andreessen Horowitz, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and more, won’t face those same issues.

I see the Overtime Elite league as more complementary than competitive. As the premier social media platform for Gen-Z sports fans, Overtime already has an intimate relationship with their future players and fans.

With just 30 roster sports in total, I don’t think anyone expects Overtime to crumble the NCAA anytime soon. The important part is that they are offering high school players an additional, unique, and differentiated option.

Simply put, they don’t need the NCAA to fail for them to be successful.

The reality of the situation is this:

Many high school athletes feel underdeveloped from a basketball skill, education, branding, and developmental perspective. Overtime is looking to change that.

As we continue to move into a world that rewards companies for empowering athletes with additional options, I certainly wouldn’t bet against them. Overtime is a new-age sports media company built on an established audience, a digital distribution model, and social equity. That’s a winning formula in today’s world.

It will be fun to see how this model progresses over time.

Have a great weekend, and we’ll talk on Monday.

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