Facebook signed a new deal this summer with digital sports media startup Overtime for a run of 150 workout videos featuring influencers and athletes. Starting in June, the Sweat It Out series will release daily guides through early August, as Facebook leans into the booming at-home fitness trend.
“In general, we’ve seen an explosion of the video and community aspect of fitness,” said Devi Mahadevia, Facebook’s director of emerging and digital sports partnerships.
Mahadevia said that nearly 7 million Americans belong to some form of Facebook group dedicated to fitness. The platform has hosted fitness content with partners including CrossFit and Ironman athletes, but this time will focus on Overtime’s Gen Z-heavy core demographic, which includes countless teenagers who’ve had summer training camps canceled. Nate Robinson, Tyler Herro, and Katie Austin are among the video hosts, as well as some of Overtime’s own talent.
Even after sports come back, Mahadevia said, Facebook will consider extending the partnership. “We believe our apps can democratize access to fitness,” she said, “no matter who you are or what your level of skill is, there is always a workout and a community for you.”
As gyms closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online workout options built around video, live experiences and interactivity boomed, with connected bike company Peloton seeing a 66 percent year-over-year sales increase in Q1. Meanwhile, over a quarter of U.S. gym memberships will be canceled this year, according to trade group International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.
Facebook believed Overtime was the right brand to help it grow in the space, thanks to what Mahadevia called its community-first approach. Founded in 2016 by Dan Porter and Zack Weiner, the social-native sports network primarily shares amateur highlights and lifestyle entertainment. Overtime has raised more than $35 million from investors, including NBA star Kevin Durant and the late David Stern.
“Overtime is really an inspiration to our partners,” Mahadevia said. “We share their specific strategy with others as the best-in-class example of community management. With live games more recently on hold, the playing field has been leveled from a media rights point of view. Companies are relying more and more on user generated content and creativity. Given that, it’s really smart to look at Overtime’s playbook.”
Overtime has had its own troubles managing the impact of the pandemic though. The company cut 23 percent of its staff in March, according to Front Office Sports, as it continues to seek new funding. The Wall Street Journal reported it was seeking a valuation of $150 million in December.