Overtime, a digital sports-media startup focused on high-school athletes, has raised $23 million in Series B funding as it looks to expand its content footprint and diversify its revenue base.
Venture-capital firm Spark Capital led the round, which brings the two-year-old company to $33.5 million raised to date. Others participating include MSG Networks; Sapphire Ventures; Charles King’s Macro Ventures; NBA players Victor Oladipo and Carmelo Anthony, who’s investing via his Melo7 Tech II fund; former pro basketballer Baron Davis; and VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, which led Overtime’s Series A investment a year ago.
Brooklyn-based Overtime was founded in the fall of 2016 by CEO Dan Porter, formerly WME’s head of digital, and president Zack Weiner, an ex-chess champion turned entrepreneur. The company launched with short-form content centered on high-school basketball stars, and over the past year has expanded its coverage to include soccer, football, esports and women’s basketball.
With the latest funding, Overtime has a valuation of around $100 million, according to Porter. The startup isn’t profitable at this point, as it continues to invest in content (monetized through branded-content deals) and its nascent ecommerce/merchandise business. Overtime also is looking to launch live in-person events and activations and is eyeing international expansion.
“We’re trying to build the digital equivalent of a linear sports network,” said Porter — in other words, a kind of ESPN focused on sports fans who are under 30. “We need enough programming every day to feel like that’s real.”
Currently, Overtime’s videos are viewed more than 550 million times per month, up from 112 million views in January 2018, according to the company. It now has 55 employees, more than double 24 a year ago, and Overtime plans to staff up in content, talent, ad sales, and commerce.
The company also has pushed into longer-form content, after hiring away Marc Kohn, Barstool Sports’ head of programming, last spring. To date, Overtime has launched more than 20 long-form video series including “Different,” “Lie Detector” and “Kevin Durant Film School” (Durant, currently on the roster of the Golden State Warriors, is an investor). The company also opened an L.A. content production office and built a content production team with more than 20 staffers.
Longer term, Overtime’s goal is ultimately to develop its own sports intellectual property, Porter said. “At the most aspirational level, you see people creating new sports leagues, WWE and UFC create opportunities out of nothing.” Last year, Overtime assembled its own pro “Fortnite” team, picking five strangers, and then made a reality show about it.
Overtime may eventually adopt an OTT subscription model but for now, Porter is sticking with its content-distribution strategy that relies on pushing its original video across Snapchat, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, and Instagram. “You have to go where your audience is,” he said.
Prior to WME, where he worked from 2013-16, Porter sold his games startup OMGPOP to Zynga for $180 million. Spark also was an investor in OMGPOP, with that funding led by Spark general partner Bijan Sabet (who was behind the firm’s early investments in Twitter, Tumblr and Oculus Rift). Other Overtime investors include former NBA commissioner David Stern and Greycroft.
This spring, Overtime plans to move its headquarters into a new 15,000-square-foot office space at 20 Jay St. in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood, to consolidate its staff and accommodate future hiring.
Pictured above: Overtime founders Zack Weiner (l.) and Dan Porter