The Sports Media Company Built For The 21st Century
Overtime is quietly building an impenetrable fortress around the future sports fans of America.
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Sports media company Overtime, which produces digital content on talented high school athletes and distributes through a multi-channel social model, announced yesterday they are doubling their sales staff and hiring their first Chief Revenue Officer, Rich Calacci.
Given Overtime has already scaled to millions of social subscribers in less than 5 years, why bring on a Chief Revenue Officer now?
“The challenge for Overtime, simply stated, was [that] the awareness for brands who should be doing business with Overtime was, in my opinion, lower than it should be,” Calacci said.
Overtime currently has a sales staff of about 10, increasing their advertiser base by 50 percent this year — despite laying off about 20 percent of their workforce since the pandemic started (source).
Calacci looks to leverage his previous experience at Pluto TV, Turner Sports, Bleacher Report, and CBS to flip Overtime from a popular social distribution network to a legitimate 9-figure revenue business.
(Image / Overtime)
For those that don’t know, the concept of Overtime is quite simple. They attacked a niche space, high school sports, that was growing in popularity and didn’t have the appropriate infrastructure to support the creation or distribution of content.
Overtime created a short-form programming content creation and distribution process, where they pay a network of contributors to attend high school games and upload highlight style clips in real-time from their mobile device.
Since launching in 2016, Overtime has built an audience of millions of followers across social platforms — now dwarfing the overall size of social channels like ESPN and the NBA.
In return, they have made certain high school athletes, like Zion Williamson and LaMelo Ball, legitimately famous — which has increased their willingness to help Overtime produce original content. The combination of free marketing for an athlete and cheap content creation for Overtime has created a win-win scenario that scales.
With early success, came investors.
(Image / Overtime)
But how does Overtime transition itself from a content creation and advertising company worth ~$100-150M, to “the digital equivalent of a linear sports network” — like ESPN?
It won’t be by selling “9-figures in apparel” like Overtime has publicly stated.
Overtime needs to double down on their content creation, producing long form video content that is unique and more advertiser friendly — as opposed to shorter 15-second highlight style clips, which lack the ability to properly monetize.
Perhaps Overtime will adopt an OTT subscription model, but they shouldn’t in my opinion. The audience will drop off and it disables their largest growth engine, social, from being used appropriately.
Instead, Overtime should be laser focused on continuing to build out a deeply connected and committed audience, which they can monetize through advertisements and merchandise for now — but can eventually transition to more scalable models like subscription, live events, or even white label products like ticketing software.
The possibilities are endless, and with a reported ~40% of the Gen Z population never watching live sporting events, I certainly wouldn’t bet against Overtime’s social first strategy.
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