Overtime – “the fastest growing sports network for the digital generation” – has teamed up with Converse to put on the Overtime Takeover (taking place on May 18 at Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse); an all-day basketball experience featuring a 3×3 tournament, dunk competition, sneaker release (All Star Pro BB) and retail pop-up. The showcase is Overtime’s latest effort to engage its audience “in real life” and to give its fans a chance to “be a part of the brand.” It’s also a means of diversifying company revenue streams. Merchandise sales and live events have become profitable ventures for digital media entities with loyal audiences (think: Barstool, Bleacher Report) needing to supplement traditional advertising revenues. The blurring of lines between sports and fashion and a Gen-Z consumer that wears branded clothing as a means of expressing themselves has enabled companies like Overtime to crossover.
Howie Long-Short: Overtime still generates the bulk of its annual revenues from advertising (think: show sponsorships, branded content), but president Zack Weiner acknowledged that “digital media is a tough business (see: Google, Facebook dominate corporate ad budgets) and there’s a need to find alternative means of generating revenues.” The company has been able to do that successfully because of the loyal fan base it has built up. Weiner said that having influence over their audience “has allowed us to sell DTC; and we expect both merchandising and events to be 7-figure businesses this year.”
Overtime’s “secret sauce” is in delivering content that kids can relate to. It’s the reason their content draws upwards of 600 million views/month. User generated content (think: game highlights) is relatable by nature – the most frequently posted comment on the company’s YouTube page is ‘I’m going to be on Overtime’ – but Weiner insists that “even our professionally shot long-form programming feels very accessible. Our most popular show on YouTube (Hello Newmans) is a reality show about two teenagers and their overbearing parents. Every kid can relate to that.”
I’m familiar with overbearing parents, but as an old millennial, the concept of wearing a media company logo on my clothing seems foreign. For as many times as I watched SportsCenter on loop as a kid, I never owned any ESPN apparel. Weiner says that I’m looking at it the wrong way, that “the comparison shouldn’t be to ESPN, but to MTV or Thrasher Magazine; media companies that became lifestyle brands. If you see someone wearing an ESPN shirt, you assume they work there. Our fans ‘wear the O’ because they want to signify that they are a part of this fan community.”
Weiner said he and CEO Dan Porter set out to “build a sports network for the next generation that kids would love and feel like they are a part of”, so holding a free event featuring elite Gen-Z basketball prospects aligns with that mission. The network Weiner and Porter envisioned though, wasn’t meant to be focused on high school basketball; the sport was simply their entry point into the market (Fan explains why below). Overtime made its name in grassroots basketball, but the company is now producing pro hoops, football, soccer and esports content as well.
Fan Marino: Overtime was able to make a name for itself within the high school basketball space because it didn’t need to purchase the broadcast rights (or partner with any entities) to film games and distribute highlights. Weiner explained that “99.9% of the time there are no local broadcast rights in place for high school sports. There’s probably 10,000 games happening every day and there might be 20 that ESPN owns the rights to.”
Now that the company has an established presence though, it has ambitions to tap into collegiate sports – where it will need to acquire rights. Weiner says it’s a logical next progression though as “conferences care about our audience and want us to continue covering these players after they graduate from high school and navigate through their collegiate careers.”
Interested in Sports Business? Sign-up for our free daily email newsletter list, here!