THE 14TH ANNUAL SHORTY AWARDS

The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project
From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

Overtime Elite: A Transformative New Sports League

Entered in Sports

About this entry

Five years ago, Overtime set out to build a different kind of sports community and brand to serve the next generation of fans. As outsiders to the established basketball system, Overtime founders Dan Porter and Zack Weiner made it their job to listen - to players, fans who DMed them, and Overtime’s filmmakers who have seen more than 100,000 students in high school gyms all over the country. Overtime put together an event called “The Takeover," our version of a high school basketball event, which provided an opportunity to listen directly to parents and players and determine what to do with the information they were gathering.  

With our collected research, we decided that we could build a league for these players and build a business around our 65+ million fans who would want to watch them - based on the needs and wants of the community they were aiming to serve. 

This league would be different though. We would document the athletes, both on and off the court, producing longform and short form content, so fans can immerse themselves into the lives of an OTE athlete. This unprecedented access gave fans an opportunity to follow these players from the beginning of their path to pro. 

Why does this entry deserve to win?

Unlike other leagues that were already established, OTE was built differently from the start, providing an extremely up close and personal look at what it means to be an OTE athlete through our content. OTE was built not only for the next generation athlete but the next generation fan giving access in a way that hadn’t been done so candidly on this scale. This is why it was imperative when we launched OTE’s social and long-form Youtube channels in September, we keet our 65MM+ fans and followers part of the journey, giving them the access and content that they were used to getting. In the first few weeks, our channels had gained more followers than any college program gained in the last 12 months. OTE is now in the top 10 U.S. Sports Leagues in Instagram and TikTok followers. 

Our fans, whether they’ve been with us for the first five years or just started to watch our content, needed to feel that they were part of OTE’s growth from the beginning. Fans want to feel like they are on the journey with each player, connecting with them both on and off the court - that’s the promise that OTE made to the fans. 

We do this by capturing content documentary style. Following the players around 24/7, we captured the entire OTE experience. Using two pro cams and two cell phones to shoot all of our content, we filmed individual and group recordings from filming the players doing the latest TikTok trend or what they learned in class today, to impactful videos where athletes shared what Black History Month meant to them. We wanted to show as much as possible while being mindful to protect these young men as they build their own brands. OTE is showing it all across our social channels including YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Snap, Facebook and Instagram. 

When it came to game day vs. practice, the strategy was a bit different. During practice, we highlighted players' drive and grind showing all the work that goes on behind the scenes to get to that next level. During game day, we showcased our one-of-a-kind competitive experience. With 10 broadcast quality HD cameras at the OTE arena, we are able to capture every play from every angle, giving audiences a more interactive way to watch the game vs. traditional games.

What can’t be undersold is the level of access and professionalism that our long and short content exhibits - our main goal is to tell the authentic stories of our program and our athletes while helping them understand how to grow their following in an organic way.

Results

Overtime created the first-ever US-based basketball league that provides high school-aged athletes a new path to becoming a paid professional while combining leading-edge training and skill development, integrated with an education for the whole athlete. To date, our content has garnered: 

Our players have also continued to grow their brand, with an average growth rate of 10% per month on Instagram. OTE player Jai Smith, even gained 30k followers in one month! 

In our first season, we played nearly 40 games, and on any given night the stands, you can always find media, NBA scouts, celebrities and key players in the industry watching the game. We’ve had Quavo, 2 Chainz, Dr. J, Carmelo Anthony, Devin Booker, Tony Parker come through the door just to name a few. 

We've also secured blue-chip brands like State Farm, Gatorade and Meta as leagues sponsors with multi-million dollar contracts, as well as a partnership with Topps and apparel collaborations including BBC Ice Cream.

Five years ago, we were filming iPhone videos of high school players to see if anyone cared. We couldn’t have foreseen ending up here, but change is constant – and embracing change is how we continue to innovate.  

Media

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Overtime Elite

Links

Entry Credits