Overtime Sports Inc., the digital media company, has raised $100 million in funding to expand its leagues for the next generation of athletes.
Liberty Media Corp., which owns F1 and the Atlanta Braves, led the Series D investment round along with Morgan Stanley’s Counterpoint Global. Other investors include Winslow Capital Management and Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment company of Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos. Canadian rapper Drake and NBA star Kevin Durant were among the investors in previous rounds. The company has raised a total of $250 million to date.
With its latest funding, Overtime is valued at over $500 million, according to Chief Executive Officer Dan Porter. The startup generates between $50 million and $100 million in annual revenue, mostly through league sponsorships and advertising on its social media channels. It also has a licensing deal with Topps, the trading card company owned by Fanatics Inc. Overtime is not yet profitable.
The company was founded in 2016 by Porter and Zack Weiner, who worked together at the talent agency WME, now part of Endeavor Group Holdings Inc., where Porter started a business representing social media stars. Their initial goal with Overtime, Porter said, was to build an audience of 15-to-28 year olds who “love sports but were not consuming them like their parents’ generation.”
They focused on covering high school basketball players who were not yet household names but had large social media followings. “Players who young people knew but middle-age media executives, who are mostly white, didn’t see,” Porter said. For example, Overtime was posting highlights of Zion Williamson before he shot to fame while playing at Duke University.
The company enlists fans to attend high school games and capture highlights, which Overtime posts on its social media accounts that have tens of millions of followers and are dedicated to basketball, football, gaming and soccer.
Over the past year, the company has branched out into running its own sports leagues. The hope is to take advantage of its online community, attract sponsors and eventually license broadcast rights to a TV network or streaming service.
In October, it launched a basketball league called Overtime Elite, which recruits and trains players, many of whom are in high school, and develops them into professionals. The league is sponsored by State Farm, Gatorade and Facebook’s owner, Meta Platforms.
Initially, the players gave up their NCAA eligibility to play in the league. Overtime pays them salaries starting at about $100,000 a year, provides academic instruction and gives them a cut of the merchandise and licensing revenue. If the players don’t get a professional contract, Overtime gives them $100,000 to attend the college of their choice.
To maintain the option to play college basketball, Overtime’s players have started to generate money through their own marketing deals, which the NCAA recently allowed, instead of getting paid by Overtime.
“There’s the NBA, there’s college basketball and we hope to be the third leg of that stool,” Porter said.
Earlier this year, Overtime started a seven-on-seven high school football league called OT7. With the new funding, Overtime is exploring launching more leagues in other sports, such as boxing and tennis.
“This is way bigger than I ever thought when I started this with like six people putting videos on Instagram,” Porter said.