Overtime and Footballco, a leading soccer content company, have formed a strategic partnership ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The deal will allow Overtime and Footballco to collaborate on making branded content and tapping into each other’s strengths and audiences; Overtime can take advantage of Footballco’s content and soccer expertise, while Footballco will tap into Overtime’s social media proficiency.
“You would think it might just be a grip-and-feel decision that we look at it and say, Soccer is rising in popularity, being the fourth most popular sport in the United States among Gen Z and Gen [Alpha] audiences,” Rich Calacci, chief revenue officer of Overtime told Sportico in an exclusive interview. “But the business reality is, we look at the data. There are 3.5 million followers on our football channel on TikTok; that’s a pretty strong signal that it’s a growth opportunity.”
In August, Overtime raised $100 million in a series D funding round led by Liberty Media and Counterpoint Global, with a total valuation of more than $500 million. The company has received investments from top VC firms in the past, including Andreessen Horowitz, Sapphire Sport, Winslow Capital, Bezos Expeditions, Spark Capital, Micromanagement Ventures, Black Capital and Blackstone Strategic Partners. Additionally, Alexis Ohanian and more than 40 NBA and NFL stars have invested their own money.
Reaching more than 640 million soccer fans a month, Footballco is the biggest soccer media publisher in the world, and the new partnership will increase its presence in the U.S. The U.K.-based company is owned by a venture fund backed by the private equity giant TPG, and it has been expanding its footprint by buying up soccer brands worldwide over the last few years. Most recently, Footballco acquired Kooora, the biggest soccer-focused media company in the Middle East.
“The growth of soccer in North America has been staggering, especially with Gen Z and Gen A,” Juan Delgado, CEO of Footballco, told Sportico. “Although we have quite a decent following on social media, the focus that Overtime has in the U.S. around those platforms gives us augmented reach that we would otherwise not be able to deliver.”
Overtime was launched in 2016 to deliver basketball highlights on social media. Today, it has over 65 million social media followers and generates two billion video views a month. The company also owns and operates two sports leagues, Overtime Elite in basketball and OT7 in football. While there’s no soccer league, it’s on the table.
“As we stand here today, there’s no immediate plan, but it’s certainly something we’re considering,” Calacci said. “Because like basketball and football, we also understand that there’s an asymmetric opportunity with soccer in the United States.”