With nearly 900,000 Instagram followers and videos that generate roughly half a billion views per month, Overtime has cemented itself as one of the leaders in high school sports video content.
“We’re building a platform for Gen Z and millennials who watch sports content made for them on platforms they love, by leveraging technology,” said Overtime Co-Founder and President Zack Weiner.Catering to a teenage demographic by using new technology and popular social media platforms, the digital-media startup produces extensive high school and amateur sports coverage, with particular emphasis on basketball.
Instead of covering the biggest names in sports like mainstream media empires, Overtime zeroes in on younger players with high potential, which Weiner said is an area with endless opportunities.
“One of our areas of focus is the next generation of top athletes, like, ‘Who’s up next?’” he said. “If you think about that, it’s more dispersed than college and professionals because there are all these different clubs and AAU teams and high school events.”
Tapping into that younger generation by sharing the stories of young athletes is how Overtime thrives.
“High school stars are so big because if I’m a teenage kid, I can relate to Zion Williamson when he’s in high school, studying for finals and doing the same things, and I see him on Instagram talking the same way as me,” Weiner said. “We lean into that culture. As a brand, we talk in that same voice and show that side.”“I think part of it is not taking sports too literally — younger fans want to see [athletes] intersect with culture, off the court and field,” he added. “The bottom line is, the reason why YouTube stars are famous is because they look and act and feel like their audience.”
For highlights, Overtime has its fingerprints all over the country, with videographers in gyms across the nation.
“Using technology, we’ve built a camera app that allows our network of videographers to record on their phones and send us footage in real time from any game across the world,” Weiner said.
With the OT Camera app, videographers can capture big plays and edit the clips themselves, which can then instantly be exported across the internet. The company has a social team dedicated to sharing the user-generated clips with lightning-quick speed.
“Our social people can go in and see every highlight happening, and categorize it by location and athlete,” he said. “So, when something happens, we’re the first in the world to put it out there.”Overtime has also created the OT VIP app, specifically for the athletes that get covered, so they can access their own highlights and mixtapes.
Between the app and the traditional social media channels, it is clear that Weiner and his team have an all-encompassing understanding of how young people consume content. Overtime’s videos generate millions of minutes of watch time per month, but Weiner said that it’s not just snappy highlight packages that get eaten up by young fans.
“I think there’s a myth that younger fans only want short-form content,” he said. “They are interested in that…but kids are also binging Netflix. They still watch long-form; it just has to be good.”
To provide that diverse content, Overtime incorporates personalities like Overtime Larry, and recently signed sports personality Rachel DeMita.
In order to continue to grow, Overtime depends on funding from big-time venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Greycroft Ventures. A number of NBA figures have also invested in Overtime, including Kevin Durant and David Stern.“NBA players are interested in working with us, investing with us, because they see trends more than anyone,” Weiner said. “They are able to give us their opinions on where they think the industry is headed. They have access to the industry as a whole.”
The company also brings in revenue by working with Fortune 500 brands, advertising and selling merchandise.
Weiner said that Overtime has been so successful because it sees its followers as more than just consumers.
“The word we used most is ‘community’ rather than ‘audience,’” he said. “Audience is easy to buy on various social platforms, but if you have community and people who love your brand, it makes it stronger over time and easier to monetize.”
Fans’ ability to interact and feel connected with Overtime has built a sense of loyalty between the company and its community.
“My goal is, in a couple of years, every kid in the world wakes up and thinks, ‘What does Overtime have for me today? What am I going to see today? What can I buy? How can I support them and be part of this community?’” said Weiner.