Sports Startup Overtime Raises $100 Million to Bulk Up High School Sports Leagues

Image Credit, iStock images, Matimix

Sign up for smart news, insights, and analysis on the biggest financial stories of the day.

More of America’s top high school athletes will be doing overtime at the gym for Overtime, the company.

The sports media startup announced Tuesday that it raised $100 million to expand its high school basketball and football leagues, with an eye toward capturing an even larger audience of teens and twentysomethings who the company says “love sports but were not consuming them like their parents’ generation.” For those like yours truly who came from a Detroit Lions family, who could blame them?

Leagues of Their Own

Founded in 2016, Overtime drafted fans to go to high school sports games and collect highlight footage, which it circulated on social media to tens of millions of followers happy to see a thunderous dunk or ridiculous touchdown grab without having to sit through a three-hour TV broadcast to witness the magic moment.

In the last year, Overtime started running its own Atlanta-based sports leagues, paying top US football and basketball prospects $100,000 a year or allowing them to leverage the league’s profile for endorsement deals (something the NCAA now allows, meaning they remain eligible to play in college). A steady flow of big-name investors have lined up behind the company, many with sporty ties like Amazon’s fitness-buff founder Jeff Bezos, rapper and notorious bandwagon sports fan Drake, Reddit co-founder Alexis “Serena Williams’ husband” Ohanian, and NBA all-star Kevin Durant. But one trophy, profitability, has so far remained elusive:

  • Overtime makes between $50 million and $100 million in annual revenue, through a combination of league sponsorships (among them State Farm, Gatorade, and Meta), social media advertising, and a licensing deal with trading card company Topps. Its latest fundraise values the company at roughly $500 million, but it’s not profitable.
  • “Operating, owning [the leagues], and then really investing in audience development so that we can bring in media rights and sponsors — that’s the core of what we’re going to do with this money over the next two to three years,” CEO Dan Porter told Variety. The company is exploring launching more leagues, including in tennis and boxing.

Punching Your Ticket: Overtime isn’t the only Gen-Z sports media-related company that made bank this week. YouTuber Jake Paul raised $50 million for a new micro-betting app, Betr. While Paul’s dubious boxing career, which has so far pitted the 25-year-old against much older, retired athletes, might be a laugh to some, his investors, which include Simplebet co-founder Joey Levy, NFL veteran DeSean Jackson and rap star Travis Scott, are no joke.