Overtime is putting a crypto spin on its college basketball bracket competition this year, mixing elements of NFT Madness with the more traditional March variety.
Last week, the digital sports brand quickly sold 2,500 blockchain-based passes for roughly $80 each (using the SOL cryptocurrency). “We wanted the 20-year-old who it’s their second NFT they’ve ever bought or something to be able to afford it,” Overtime head of product Jack Ostler said.
On Thursday, holders of the passes will be delivered a completed NCAA men’s tournament bracket, filled out algorithmically so that no two brackets are the same. Then fans will be able to buy and sell the brackets on the Magic Eden marketplace, with the top 100 sheets earning a percentage of a payout expected to exceed $100,000.
“We were just riffing and we were like, ‘Wow, what if you could actually, like, buy and sell your bracket?’” Overtime CEO Dan Porter said. “It’s not just like, ‘Here’s a bunch of drawings that you can buy. Or here’s a bunch of highlights that you can buy, and let’s build a community around it.’ But it seemed to be at the core of what web3 represented.”
The random assignment of brackets takes inspiration from other NFT projects, where collectors purchase a digital art NFT and then wait for the “reveal” to find out how rare of an image they have. In this case, owners will be hoping for a Gonzaga or Arizona bracket. The model also makes the challenge more accessible for collectors around the world who might not know the difference between Stephen F. Austin and Austin Peay. Once the brackets are determined, fans can search through the 2,500 and attempt to buy the one they most believe in—if the holder is willing to sell. Fees on any secondary market transactions will further fuel the winnings available.
The tournament challenge is just the beginning of the company’s plans for what it’s calling bracketX. Pass holders are also being promised access to future contests, whether they’re tied to the NBA playoffs, NFL season or World Cup. And they’ll have a special space within Overtime’s growing Discord community, which will feature chats with NBA players, among other offerings. “It’s almost like they’re essentially minting or acquiring a magic ticket to the community, which opens up all kinds of interactive sports experiences going forward,” Porter said.
Overtime’s 9,000 Discord members still pale in comparison to its 6 million Instagram followers, but the company has dedicated a team to growing its presence on the large-scale social group chat app.
“This is what Overtime is about,” Porter said. “It’s about building community first and foremost.”
Sportico will be publishing short business highlights throughout the three-week NCAA tournament.