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Overtime is one of the most fascinating companies in sports.
As the Head of Digital at talent agency William Morris Endeavor (WME) in 2015, Dan Porter recognized a common problem when talking to executives at various professional sports leagues — they struggled to connect with a younger generation.
So, he teamed up with 21-year-old Zack Weiner, and the two launched Overtime.
The thesis behind Overtime was actually quite simple. Porter & Weiner strongly believed that we were quickly shifting towards a world where younger sports fans cared more about the individual playing the game than the team itself.
As a result, they attacked a niche space, ameateur sports, that was growing in popularity but lacked the appropriate infrastructure to support the creation or distribution of content.
Next up, raising money.
When Dan Porter and Zack Weiner set out to raise their seed round in 2017, they were turned down by a total of 59 investors — including individuals, groups, funds, etc.
Porter, age 50 at the time, says that some investors told him he was “too old to run a company like this” while others “lacked the imagination” to understand that high school sports could be bigger than just content for parents & recruiting.
But here’s the best part — Porter and Weiner ended up raising a $2.5 million seed round in 2017, and former late NBA commissioner David Stern was their first investor.
"This is a generation that doesn't just want to read the news. They want to make and participate in it.” NBA Comissioner David Stern said at the time.
Overtime ended up using the money to build a proprietary short-form programming content creation & distribution process. In simple terms, they paid a network of thousands of contributions to attend high school games, capture unique highlight-style content, and upload it remotely from their mobile device to a central database.
The company would then post those highlights on social media.
The catch? With 99% of all high school games being uneventful, Overtime’s network of contributors was focused on specific athletes that they would eventually turn into celebrities, like Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball, Mikey Williams, and others.
The key to all this is that, unlike the business model for ESPN, CBS, NBC, and Fox, you don’t have to pay a billion-dollar rights fee for high school sports — it’s free.
Fast forward five years, and the unique incentive structure that helps high school athletes build their brand combined with cheap(er) content creation for Overtime has propelled the business into cultural relevancy.
Today, Overtime has more than 50 million followers across all social media platforms, does nearly 2 billion video views per month, and has doubled revenue each of the last two years.
Overtime Revenue Breakdown
~2/3 of revenue comes from sponsorships
~1/3 of revenue comes from ecommerce
And that success has brought increased investor demand.
Overtime has since raised more than $100 million from some of the best venture capital firms and celebrity investors globally, including Andreessen Horowitz, GreyCroft, Jeff Bezos, Drake, and others.
Yes, you read that right, Jeff Bezos & Drake.
Wild Stat: Roughly 5% of all active NBA players have invested in Overtime, including Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Devin Booker, Trae Young, Klay Thomspon, Zach LaVine, and Lonzo Ball.
So, what is Overtime going to do with the money?
They recently launched Overtime Elite, a professional basketball league designed to give high school-aged players an alternative to college or overseas travel.
In exchange for giving up their college eligibility, players will be paid $100,000 or more, offered health benefits, given an equity stake in Overtime, receive classes on financial education, and more.
The first season of Overtime Elite is already underway. They have landed some top recruits, and the 100,000-square-foot facility they built in Atlanta is beautfiul.
Still, this will all take some time to play out. Overtime is betting that it is better to build out its own premium IP, distrbuting content through a multi-channel approach, than it is to try and compete with the industry’s most prominent players on multi-billion-dollar media rights deals.
It’s an ambitious plan, and something that I believe we will be talking a lot about over the next 12-24 months. So, rather than speculate on how things are going, I sat down and recorded an hour-long conversation with Overtime CEO Dan Porter.
We chatted about everything, including the thesis behind Overtime, what it was like raising money from Jeff Bezos & Drake, how Overtime’s revenue might look in the future, and the impact of sports betting, crypto, and the metaverse.
You can listen to our conversation here. I think you’ll really enjoy it.
I hope everyone has a great day, and we’ll talk tomorrow.
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