In this handout image provided by SportsPro, Dan Porter, Overtime speaks during the SportsPro OTT Summit USA 2020 at Turner Studios on February 19, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.
John Nowak | SportsPro | fake images
Media company Overtime is starting another amateur sports league, this time for high school football players.
The Brooklyn, New York-based company will launch a low-contact seven-on-seven soccer league in June called “OT7,” it announced Tuesday. The move comes more than a year after Overtime launched a high school basketball league. The soccer program will take place June 9-12 in Las Vegas.
Overtime said it plans to pay for the league’s expenses using a portion of the $80 million he raised in April 2021 of investors, including the investment firm of Jeff Bezos and global artist Drake. NFL quarterback Cam Newton is also an investor in OT7. Newton’s inversion terms were not available.
Overtime co-founder Dan Porter told CNBC that the company is “doubling down” on amateur leagues.
“We focus on the biggest and most popular sports and finding our audience in those sports where we can do something bigger than it had been,” he said.
Overtime distributes original sports content on social media, including Snapchat, AlphabetIt’s YouTube and GoalThe company’s Facebook says it has more than 50 million followers on its social media channels. Their revenue comes from two sources: indirectly aligning with brands by integrating them into online media content and making money from video ads, and through e-commerce with their clothing offerings.
CNBC reported last year that Overtime had raised more than $140 million since its launch in 2016. Pitchbook estimated Overtime’s valuation reached $280 million as of March 2021. Porter declined to disclose details about the company’s valuation, aside from to say it’s less than $1 billion.
Porter cited Newton’s familiarity with seven-on-seven football camps as helping with OT7 operations. For more than 10 years, new investor Newton has coached amateur seven-on-seven teams he calls “C1N.”
“It’s one thing to find someone with a great platform that can help validate what you’re doing and engage that audience, but they’re very into [youth football] and cares about it passionately,” Porter said.
Newton told CNBC that he contemplated launching a youth soccer league but “we feel with the strength that Overtime has, where this partnership with social media platforms is headed, and giving these kids the exposure that they most want and need, I think.” That made the most sense.”
A year ago, the company started its Atlanta-based Overtime Elite, or OTE, basketball league. The league allows younger basketball players to bypass the traditional high school and college levels while building their brand before becoming eligible for the NBA draft.
The league is still in its first year of operation. NBA scouts who spoke to CNBC about OTE said it’s too early to speculate on the impact it could have on the recruiting landscape.
Still, Overtime is ramping up its content offerings around OTE.
In January, Meta reached an agreement with OTE to create virtual reality dunk programs for its Oculus devices. Terms of that deal were not publicly disclosed and Porter did not discuss details about OTE’s revenue. But the bet is that Overtime may eventually license the content to a larger media company or streaming platform looking for a Gen Z audience.
“We want to generate as much value as possible,” Porter said. She added that Overtime’s social media audience is “not a mass consumer of linear live video.” [media consumption]but we think they will get there.”
Last year, Overtime built a 103,000-square-foot complex in the Atlantic Station section of Atlanta. The campus is the residence for OTE participants and league staff. OTE says it provides financial education, life skills training, and traditional education categories. OTE pays players a minimum of $100,000 in compensation and agrees to pay an additional $100,000 in college expenses if players do not follow the professional route.
However, OT7 soccer players will not be paid to play. Overtime said the move protects college eligibility, but added that it plans to pay for participation expenses, such as hotel rooms and meals, but excludes team costs..
OT7 will feature up to 24 teams playing eight games each and one round of playoffs to determine a champion. Games will be played on segments of the 40-yard line of an NFL-regulated 100-yard field, will last 20 minutes each without guards, and tackling is restricted. OT7 will allow one-handed tapping to stop the game.
Overtime said the league would help develop players’ passing and routing skills. Quarterbacks will have six seconds to throw passes. Overtime estimates that between 500 and 700 athletes could attend the league.
“There’s been this untapped market in seven against seven for years,” Newton said. “We’ve seen kids get scholarship offers because of their movie Seven by Seven.” He said OT7 would give “kids the visual content exposure they need. Whether it’s five stars or no stars, we want to give them that platform that highlights their skill set.”
Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates Ted Ginn Jr. #19’s touchdown in the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium on January 24, 2016 in Charlotte, Carolina from North.
Newton, 32, earned $133 million in his 11-year NFL career, according to Spotraca website that tracks sports contracts. Forbes also estimates that Newton has earned $5 million in annual endorsements from companies including Under the armor. Newton had a deal with the Beats headphone company, owned by Applebut that deal expired in January 2020, the company told CNBC.
Newton said that his participation in OT7 is perhaps his most important investment due to his “double immersion”. Newton will help run OT7 as he continues to coach his C1N teams that will compete in the league. It’s unclear if the NFL quarterback benefits from his teams through Overtime’s business model.
“If I can’t personally relate to it, I don’t,” Newton, a three-time Pro Bowl player and former NFL MVP who led the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2016, said of his investment strategy. “I am a person who did the right thing with his money and I continue to do the right thing with my money.”
If he plays again, the NFL is up in the air. He is a free agent for the second time in two years. Asked about his future, Newton did not mention retirement but did not rule it out either.
“I’m in a position right now in life where a lot of connections have been made,” Newton said. “There is no doubt in my mind: could I continue to play this game at a high level? Absolutely. Do I need this game to live at a high level? Absolutely not.”
When asked what he was looking for in a potential next team, he said, “I just want to win. That competitive drive never goes away.”