March 1, 2024

In this handout image from SportsPro, Dan Porter, overtime speaks during the SportsPro OTT USA 2020 Summit at Turner Studios on February 19, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.

John Nowak | SportsPro | Getty Images

Dan Porter, CEO of Overtime, is losing his mind?

The sports company’s co-founder recalled the reaction of former National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern when he was building another Hoops League.

Overtime announced Thursday that it plans to create a basketball league for 16-18 year olds that can earn them at least $ 100,000 a year.

The Overtime Elite League allows players to bypass traditional high school and college levels while building their brand before qualifying for the NBA. It will start in September with 30 players and will take place in a single location that is still under discussion.

In an interview on Wednesday, Porter confirmed that overtime would pay for all health insurance and allow players to earn bonuses and equity in overtime. He also recalled the star’s skepticism.

“It’s a pretty interesting opportunity,” Porter said of OTE’s launch.

Overtime distributes original sports content on social media, including Snapchat, Google’s YouTube, and Facebook’s Instagram, and sells apparel with logos and branding. Most of the content revolves around high school or other amateur players, but no highlights or materials from major sports leagues are licensed.

Porter and Zachary Weiner, both former William Morris Endeavor executives, formed Overtime in 2016 with investments from Stern and others.

Since then, the company has built a massive Generation Z followed by high school basketball players. The company has over 40 million followers on its social media channels and has built credibility among NBA stars like Zion Williamson and Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young.

The company says its content is streamed over 1.7 billion times a month across all social platforms – mostly from Gen Z. According to surveys, this group of 13- to 24-year-olds prefer highlights and fast-paced sports content over traditional formats they prefer Basketball versus other sports.

Overtime’s revenue comes from two sources. You target brands indirectly by incorporating them into their content and making money from video ads. The other is direct revenue from e-commerce, where Porter says the company makes “millions of dollars” in clothing.

“Just like with a sports team, when you buy a hat or jersey,” Porter said, “people feel part of that community and they buy clothes to represent that. We believe there is a great opportunity to lean into the essentials. ” Basketball for young people and create a clothing brand. “

Overtime refused to disclose its financial information.

With OTE, Porter expects the sales model to change a little “from e-commerce and media to e-commerce, media, rights and licenses similar to a league”. He said OTE would eventually sell its media rights.

“Not early. We’ll take our time,” said Porter.

Overtime also has active conversations for brand partners and sales for the league.

LaMelo Ball # 2 of the Charlotte Hornets dribbles the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Chase Center on February 26, 2021 in San Francisco, California against the Golden State Warriors.

Thearon W. Henderson | Getty Images

A new basketball farm system?

Porter said he spoke to families of elite athletes for two years to get information about OTE. He said families frowned upon the current path to the professionals where prominent colleges earn millions of talent in exchange for free education.

OTE says it will provide world-class education, residencies and training, and offer advanced analysis of players’ performance to help them improve. The big advantage, however, is that OTE gives players the right to benefit from their brands while getting paid to participate.

“We’re the only country in the world that forces you to go to high school and then to college to become a professional athlete, at least in basketball and soccer,” Porter said.

As part of its collective agreement, the NBA prohibits players under the age of 19 from entering the league. Some players attend college for at least a year while awaiting eligibility. hence the popular term “one and done”.

Porter pointed to players like former NBA security guard Brandon Jennings and Charlotte Hornets security guard LaMelo Ball, who both bypassed college.

“We’re doing this based on watching these young athletes try to change the system and make it work for them,” Porter said.

“We’re a great platform and that makes us a good place to find talent,” said Porter. “We’re starting a league from scratch. We don’t have an old overhang. We can build a model that feels like a 21st century model, both in terms of starting startups and creating digital businesses.”

An overtime logo on a basketball court

Source: overtime

Porter said OTE could serve as a new avenue to the NBA. The NBA already has a non-college route with its NBA G League Ignite program with top high school prospects Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd. This route allows younger players to train in the program until they are eligible.

Players in the NBA program can earn anywhere from $ 200,000 to $ 500,000 while waiting to be eligible.

Should OTE players fail to pursue a career, an additional $ 100,000 will be made available for tuition fees. When teenagers enter the league, players will lose their NCAA eligibility for receiving payment.

“It’s a professional way,” said Porter. “But in contrast to a pure farm system, this is competition. We expect tens of millions of people to tune in and want to watch. And why do we expect that? Because they are already watching on our platforms today.”

Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony, an OTE investor and board member, said many athletes are not properly prepared for the life of a professional athlete.

“We need to better empower the next generation of players and prepare them for success,” he said. “OTE leads the way in this regard by providing players with a comprehensive route that fully develops the athlete – not just basketball skills, but education, economic empowerment, and branding. That kind of guidance for high school players is critical to recruitment. ” them for a successful career on and off the pitch. “

Then-NBA Commissioner David Stern speaks to the media ahead of the first game of the 2013 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs at the American Airlines Arena on June 6, 2013 in Miami.

Mike Ehrmann | Getty Images

I am seeking approval

Porter said the early reactions in the league have been positive and that they are made up of NBA names that can help OTE operate efficiently.

In addition to Anthony, investors include Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant and Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. The commissioner is former NBA manager Aaron Ryan and ex-Sacramento Kings deputy general manager Brandon Williams will oversee the operation of the league.

“There’s a lot of NBA DNA in there,” Porter said.

But Stern was the most influential. He was the first investor in overtime, helping it raise $ 2.5 million in 2017, three years before his death.

Porter remembered Stern telling him to avoid starting a league. “I’ve spent 30 years on it. You don’t want to do that,” Porter recalled.

“But we are annoyingly persistent,” he added.

When Stern watched overtime take off at GenZ, he believed OTE was a good idea and agreed, Porter said.

“He said, ‘I think you not only can do this, you have to do it,” Porter recalled. “We were like wow. It’s like a 180, so we felt we could do it. If you’re building a business in this world, you can’t rely on people to give you opportunities,” added Porter . “You have to go your own way.”