In this image provided by SportsPro, Dan Porter, Overtime speaks during the SportsPro OTT Summit USA 2020 at Turner Studios on February 19, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.
John Nowak | SportsPro | fake images
Is Overtime CEO Dan Porter Losing His Mind?
The sports company co-founder recalled the reaction of former National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern when he launched the establishment of another basketball league.
Overtime announced Thursday that it plans to start a basketball league for 16-18 year olds that will allow them to earn at least $ 100,000 per year.
The Overtime Elite league will allow players to bypass traditional high school and college levels while building their brand before becoming eligible for the NBA. It will start in September with 30 players and will be based on a single location, which is still under discussion.
In an interview Wednesday, Porter confirmed that overtime would pay for all health insurance and allow players to earn bonuses and equity on overtime. He also remembered Stern’s skepticism.
“It’s a pretty interesting opportunity,” Porter said of starting OTE.
Overtime distributes original sports content on social media, including Snapchat, Google-owned YouTube, and Facebook-owned Instagram, and sells clothing with its logos and branding. Most of the content revolves around high school or other amateur players, but does not license highlights or material from major sports leagues.
Porter and Zachary Weiner, both former executives of William Morris Endeavor, founded Overtime in 2016 with investments from Stern and others.
Since then, the company has built a massive following of Gen Z high school basketball players. The company has more than 40 million followers on its social media channels and has built credibility with NBA stars like Zion Williamson and Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young.
The company says its content is streamed more than 1.7 billion times a month on all social platforms, primarily by Gen Z. Surveys have suggested this group of 13-24 year olds prefer the highlights and the fast sports content to traditional formats, and they prefer basketball over other sports.
Overtime income comes from two sources. One is to indirectly align with brands by integrating them into your content and making money from video ads. The other is direct income through e-commerce, where Porter says the company makes “millions of dollars” from clothing.
“Like a sports team when they buy a cap or a jersey,” Porter said, “people feel part of that community and buy clothes to represent that. We believe there is a great opportunity to lean on the fundamentals of basketball for the young people and create an apparel brand. “
Overtime refused to disclose his finances.
With OTE, Porter expects the revenue model to shift a little bit “from e-commerce and media to e-commerce, media, rights and licenses, like a league.” He said that OTE eventually wants to sell its press rights.
“Not at first. Let’s take our time,” Porter said.
Overtime also participates in active conversations for brand and distribution partners for the league.
Charlotte Hornets’ LaMelo Ball # 2 dribbles the ball on the court against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Chase Center on February 26, 2021 in San Francisco, California.
Thearon W. Henderson | fake images
A new basketball farm system?
Porter said he spent two years talking to the families of top athletes to seek opinions on OTE. He said families expressed disapproval of the current path to professionals, where prominent universities earn millions from talent in exchange for a free education.
OTE says it will provide the best education, residencies and training and offer advanced analytics of player performance to help them improve. But the big advantage is that OTE will give players the right to capitalize on their brands while getting paid to participate.
“We are 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 bargaining agreement, the NBA prohibits players under the age of 19 from entering the league. Some players attend at least one year of college while waiting to be eligible; hence the popular term “one and done.”
Porter referenced players such as former NBA guard Brandon Jennings and Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball, who both overlooked college.
“We’re doing it based on observing how these young athletes are trying to change the system and make it work for them,” Porter said.
“We are a great platform and that makes us a good place to go out and find talent,” Porter said. “We’re starting a league from scratch. We don’t have any outstanding legacies. We can build a model that feels like a model of the 21st century both in terms of how start-ups are created and how digital companies are created.
An overtime logo on a basketball court
Porter said OTE could serve as a new path to the NBA. The NBA already has a non-college route with its NBA G League Ignite program, which features top high school prospects Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd. This route allows younger players to train in the program until they are eligible.
If OTE players do not pursue a professional career, they will provide an additional $ 100,000 for college tuition. But if the youth participate in the league, the players lose their NCAA eligibility because they are receiving a payment.
“It’s a career path,” Porter said. “But unlike a pure farming system, this is competition. We expect tens of millions of people to want to tune in and watch. And why do we expect that? Because they are already looking on our platforms today.”
Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony, an investor and OTE board member, said many athletes are not adequately prepared for the life of a professional athlete.
“We need to do a better job of empowering the next generation of players and preparing them for success,” he said. “OTE is leading the way on that front by offering players a comprehensive path that fully develops the athlete, not just basketball skills, but also education, economic empowerment, and building their own brand. Having this type of Guidance for high school players is critical in establishing prepared them for a successful career, both on and off the court. “
Then-NBA Commissioner David Stern addresses the media ahead of Game One 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 | fake images
Porter said the early reaction in the league is positive and that it is built on 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 executive Aaron Ryan and former Sacramento Kings assistant general manager Brandon Williams will oversee the league’s operations.
“There’s a lot of NBA DNA in this,” Porter said.
But Stern was the most influential. He was the first investor in Overtime, helping him raise $ 2.5 million in 2017, three years before his death.
Porter remembered that Stern had told him to avoid starting a league. “I spent 30 years doing this. You don’t want to do something like this,” Porter remembers saying.
“But we are annoyingly persistent,” he added.
As Stern watched the overtime take off among GenZ, he became convinced that OTE was a good idea and approved it, Porter said.
“He said, ‘I think not only can you do this, you should do this,” Porter recalled. “We were like wow. That’s like a 180. That’s when we felt we could do this. When you build a company in this world, you can’t count on people to give you opportunities,” added Porter. “You have to make your own way.”