Overtime used to rely on high school stars to become popular, and now it has launched a high school basketball league. While looking for new traffic codes, they are also participating in the “encirclement and suppression” of NCAA.
The first season of Overtime Elite (OTE), a high school basketball league held by Overtime, kicked off on October 29. 27 players between the ages of 16 and 19 were divided into three teams and will participate in a total of 37 games.
During the regular season, the three teams need to participate in two 20-minute matches on each match day, and each win will earn two points. In addition, the OTE League also sets up a “Takeovers” competition system such as a dunk contest and a three-point contest. The winner can score two points for the team. Not only that, the OTE League also has a Prep Challenges competition system against outside teams, and the winner can get one point.
According to the schedule, this season’s OTE League will end on March 25, 2022. By then, the team with the highest points will become the championship this season.
The three teams are coached by Dave Leitao, Ryan Gomes and Tim Fanning, with Kevin Ollie as the league’s general manager. The coach is responsible for supervising the training of each team.
The above four have rich experience in coaching: Leteo has been coaching in college basketball for more than 37 years; Gomez has played in the NBA for 8 years and has coached NBA Development League teams after retiring; Fanning has been in Israel for the past five years. The traditional powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv served as an assistant; in 2014, the 41-year-old Ollie helped his alma mater, the University of Connecticut, win the NCAA championship.
In order to host the OTE League, Overtime has built a new arena at the Atlantic Station in Midtown Atlanta. Most of the training, competition and learning tasks will be completed in the new arena this season.
▲In addition to the game, the players of the OTE League also have to attend classes.
As a basketball league for high school students, players in the OTE league need to attend 4 hours of classes every day to obtain a high school diploma. And if the players eventually choose to continue their studies, the OTE League will also provide them with $100,000 in college tuition. In addition, OTE league players will receive a salary of $100,000 each season, as well as rewards such as medical insurance and league equity.
It is worth mentioning that $100,000 is only the “base salary”, and the salary of star players is much higher than this standard. According to The Athletic and ESPN reports, five-star high school player Jalen Lewis has signed a multi-year contract worth more than $1 million with the OTE League. Matt Bewley and Ryan The two brothers, Billy (Ryan Bewley), signed a two-year contract worth more than $1 million. This salary standard has been in line with the contract NBA Development League for elite high school graduates.
In addition to the treatment of players, the OTE League has also made some reforms to the rules of the game. Take free throws as an example. Both two-point fouls and three-point fouls only take one free throw, and the penalty will add points according to the corresponding point value. In addition, the duration of the game suspension has also been greatly shortened to only 20 seconds. In Ollie’s view, these rules are reformed to make the game smoother. “We don’t want fans to be caught in a long wait because of two free throws and a one-minute timeout. They have to keep the pace of the game smooth.”
Overtime’s audience is mainly fans of Generation Z and Millennials. Under the influence of smartphones and social media, it is difficult for them to have the patience to watch an entire game. If the game is too long, young fans will be less interested in watching the game. Therefore, whether it is to shorten the game time to 20 minutes or reform the penalty and time-out rules, the OTE League hopes to speed up the pace of the game and increase the interest of young fans in watching the game.
▲Overtime and OTE League will give priority to the needs of the younger generation of fans.
Everything starts with young fans, which is the operating purpose of Overtime and OTE League.
In 2017, Overtime received $2.5 million in seed round financing and began to build a short video content distribution platform.
For a start-up company, the high copyright fee is the threshold they need to bypass. The high school sports league with almost zero copyright cost has naturally become Overtime’s development starter.
▲ Weiner (left) and Porter (right).
As one of the investors in the seed round of Overtime, former NBA president David Stern gave advice to Overtime founders Dan Porter and Zach Weiner. : “The younger generation of viewers not only want to watch the news, they also want to participate in the production.”
Porter and Weiner put this suggestion into practice, hired some freelancers, let them go to various high school gymnasiums to watch games, and used the application developed by Overtime to shoot videos. After Overtime gets the video, it edits and processes it, and then distributes it to major social media platforms.
Overtime uses this form of content production and distribution to accumulate its own audience, and the emergence of star players makes this strategy more effective.
▲Zion, who has gained a reputation in high school, has become Overtime’s traffic password.
Take Zion Williamson (Zion Williamson) as an example. His high school game highlights are very popular, which became the traffic code of Overtime and promoted the development of the company. With the development of the platform, Williamson is also known to more fans, and his fame has increased. In the end, Williamson entered the NBA as the No. 1 pick in 2019, and Overtime’s development is getting smoother.
In April of this year, Overtime completed a $80 million Series C financing. Investors included Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Canadian artist Drake, Blackstone Group, and Klay Thompson and many other NBA stars. . After completing this financing, Overtime will invest part of the funds into the OTE League.
They organized the OTE League to continue Overtime’s development strategy and find the next Zion.
Most of the players recruited by the OTE League are high school star players, and they are equipped with NBA-level stadiums, trainers and nutritionists. As one of the players in the OTE League, Tyler Smith said in an interview with ESPN: “This is a new and unique career path. I want to become an NBA player, not to play in college. It has to be trained like NBA players. The training environment provided by the OTE League is unattainable in high schools.”
Through training and competition, Overtime expects that the OTE League can produce some stars who can enter the professional league and have appeal on social media. In this way, the stars can not only enhance the viewing and popularity of the OTE League, but also provide a steady stream of promotional materials for Overtime.
▲OTE League cooperated with Topps to launch a star card.
And for the just starting OTE league, the star effect is even more important. By absorbing a group of five-star high school players and outstanding young international players, the OTE League has won the favor of sponsors. In October, Gatorade, StateFarm and OTE League signed a multi-year cooperation. In addition, OTE League will also sell apparel and other peripheral products, and will cooperate with Topps to launch star cards, and NFT products may also be launched in the future.
Driven by the above actions,The OTE League is expected to generate more than $1 million in annual revenue. According to Time Magazine, Overtime, which has not yet achieved profitability, hopes to push its annual revenue to 300 million US dollars in the next five years, of which the OTE League will contribute nearly 100 million US dollars in revenue.
While Overtime used the OTE League to increase its revenue, it also participated in the “encirclement and suppression” of the NCAA.
In 2006, the NBA raised the draft age limit to 19 years old, shutting out high school players. This move makes the NCAA more powerful. If high school players want to stay in the United States to play and then participate in the NBA draft, they must play in college for at least one year.
The NCAA is not only getting stronger, but also earning a lot of money, and the benefits that players can get are pitiful. In this case, some leagues have begun to compete with the NCAA for high school stars through high salaries.
In March 2018, the Australian NBL League began to implement the “NextStars” program, targeting potential new stars who do not want to join the NCAA team but have not yet reached the draft age. NBL generally signs contracts with such players for two years, and the contract includes a clause for leaving the team for joining the NBA. In addition, the NBL will pay these players higher salaries than the NBA Development League, and provide them with the apartments, transportation and air tickets to go home during the offseason.
In 2019, the NBA Development League also began to grab people, offering some young players who have not yet reached draft age with contracts with an annual salary of $125,000. In 2020, the NBA Development League formally established the Ignite Team to give high school stars the opportunity to compete with professional players.
▲Green (left) and Kuminga (right).
Judging from the results, these new outlets can indeed meet the needs of high school stars who are interested in entering the NBA. LaMelo Ball, No. 3 pick in 2020, and Josh Giddey, No. 6 pick in 2021, both played in the NBL. Ignite also has three players selected in the 2021 NBA Draft. , They are Jalen Green (Jalen Green) with the second overall pick, Jonathan Kuminga (7th overall) and Isaiah Todd (31st overall).
In the face of the menacing NBL, Ignite Team and OTE League, the NCAA retaliated with the new NIL regulations, allowing college athletes to profit from their names, images, and portrait rights.
With this move, the income of many college athletes has increased, and at the same time it can curb the offensive of other leagues. Five-star high school student Jalen Duren (Jalen Duren) said in an interview with CBS Sports that he does not have to join the Ignite team like Green and Kuminga, and he can now “realize” his reputation by staying in college.
But for Overtime, they are more concerned about whether the OTE league can produce stars than “take down” the NCAA. As long as there are enough young stars to emerge, the league and the company can embark on the fast track of development.
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