I must be the only idiot on the Internet who hadn’t heard of Overtime. They’re a sports/gaming media company that has over 40M followers across 7 platforms including YouTube, Instagram, Tik-Tok, Twitter, and Twitch. I guess I don’t exactly fit into their target demographic (Gen Z) so it’s not surprising I’m just finding out about them now.
Overtime is going after the NCAA and the NFHS (though they won’t say that) with a league of their own: Overtime Elite. Think the Junior Basketball Association except no clown is running it and it has a chance of success.
The league, debuting in September, plans on attracting ~30 of the nation’s top young basketball players (as young as 16) to choose them over playing for their high schools or colleges with $100K salaries. Minimum.
Yup you read that correctly. It also has several other perks which include a signing bonus, shares in Overtime, and health and disability insurance.
The issue of whether or not to compensate NCAA athletes has been going on for a thousand years, but the power of social media has given it a shot in the arm recently and the outcome seems inevitable: players will be compensated more than they currently are in some form or another.
I’m willing to bet my life savings that all ~30 of the league’s inaugural members are currently avid consumers of Overtime content. And Overtime appears to understand exactly what those consumers want. When the talent your trying to attract and the consumer your trying to appeal to are the same, I like the chances of success. (Reminds me of Roblox in that way).
The trade-off, however, is that the athlete will not be eligible to participate at the high school or NCAA level, ever. To me, this is kind of a non-issue. In basketball, it’s (subjective) generally easier to forecast a young athlete’s potential to play professionally than say, baseball, so I think the risk/reward is reasonable.
Overtime plans to hedge that risk for its athletes, though. Remember I wrote at the top that they won’t say they’re going after HS or college? That’s because, in addition to the salary, bonuses, shares, and insurance, $100k in college scholarships is being set aside per player. So should they choose to pursue higher education, they’ll have access to those funds (though I don’t know the details on that). They are also hiring educational staff to help their athletes obtain their high school diplomas while they train and play. Dan Porter, Overtime’s CEO, served as the first president of Teach for America, so I guess I’ll take them seriously on the education front.
I think this is a no-brainer for top young basketball talent. The toughest sell to me is the education part, but as I wrote above I don’t see it as that big of an issue, and Overtime has its bases in that respect which should give parents some ease.
The biggest risk would be a league failure. What happens if the league goes bankrupt and can’t play its players? They say they’re well funded but you never know. What if the league isn’t around in a year? What kind of consequences will the league’s players face from the NFHS and/or NCAA, if they are even granted eligibility?
The decision for young players and their families will not only be a bet on their talent but the league’s success, because without it they’re kinda fucked.
But I’m optimistic. Former commissioner David Stern was an early investor in 2016, and others invested include Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, who sits on the board of directors. They’ve built the audience, the issue is hot, the demand is there.
As long they don’t let LaVar Ball anywhere near this, I like the chances of Overtime Elite’s success.