Liberty Media Leads $100M Funding Round For Sports Channel Gen Z Overtime As Bezos And Morgan Stanley Raise The Stakes

AAs Dan Porter sat in the owner’s suite at Truist Park in Atlanta to watch the Braves’ opener on April 7, he made what he thought was a good investment pitch to the general manager. from Liberty Media, Greg Maffei. Every generation, Porter told Maffei, has its “thing” – a new behavior. And when it comes to media consumption, the digital generation is aligned with Porter’s sports company, Overtime.

“I felt like I was pretty convincing,” Porter said. Forbes. “People can pull out a camera and they can create content. But can they build a brand? This is our special sauce.

On Tuesday, Overtime announced Liberty Media led a $100 million funding round that also includes investment firm Winslow Capital. They join former investors, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Bezos Expeditions, Morgan Stanley’s Counterpoint Global fund and venture capital firm Sapphire, who have all increased their stake. Specific amounts were not made available.

Porter said Series D doubled the company’s value to more than $500 million. “I think we’re quite popular in this competitive market,” Porter said. Forbes.

Liberty Media goes deep

Overtime operates the Overtime Elite High School Basketball League, or OTE. The league guarantees high school students at least $100,000 to participate and offers an additional $100,000 for college expenses. In March, Overtime launched a second property, a seven on seven football leagueOT7, in partnership with National Football League star Cam Newton.

Porter said Maffei had previously visited the OTE compound in Atlanta and that Liberty executives “did an insane amount of due diligence” before committing any money. “They went through every contract,” Porter said. Forbes. “They even called our announcers and really dug in.”

Launched in 2016 by Porter and his business partner, Zack Weiner, Overtime began as a social media platform. Over the years, it has gained popularity for posting videos of top high school athletes. This helped him attract more investors, including venture capital powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz and National Basketball Association stars Kevin Durant, Trae Young and Carmelo Anthony.

In 2021, Overtime launched OTE after obtaining $80 million from investors including Bezos, private equity firm Blackstone Group and artist Drake. Overtime estimates it has raised $250 million since 2016. Now Porter has attracted money from Liberty Media to expand e-commerce and operate OTE and OT7.

“We’ve built a really powerful brand that’s very recognizable among our fan demographics,” Porter said. “It’s different from what traditional sports leagues do.”

Liberty has a market capitalization of $13 billion and owns satellite radio company Sirius XM, Live Nation, the Braves and Formula One Group, or F1. The overtime investment will be attributed to the F1 tracking stock, listed as “FWONA” on NASDAQ. Tracking stocks are used to gauge earnings for a particular division of a company’s portfolio.

Maffei said in a statement that overtime has had an “industry-wide impact in sports and media” since its inception. Porter said Liberty’s involvement “is a recognition that digital distribution of content and young audiences are important.”

Investors see growth for overtime

Overtime estimates he earns north of $50 million in revenue from his roughly 65 million subscribers across all channels. The company has agreements with companies such as State Farm, Gatorade and Meta, parent company of Facebook and Instagram. Overtime also leverages merchandise, e-commerce, and license fees. Additionally, it generates ticketing revenue for OTE games in Atlanta. Revenue does not reflect the cost of overtime production for events.

Still, Michael Spiritoa partner at Sapphire Sport, which led Overtime’s two previous funding rounds and includes it among the companies in a $115 million sports fund launched in 2019, said Forbes that overtime is a “high growth business” that has “exceeded” revenue expectations. He said the additional sports intellectual property would improve sponsorships. In addition, the “imitation behavior” of mainstream sports networks around Overtime’s social media approach, such as the use of Gen Z slang in video captions, shows the influence of ‘Overtime on the sports media landscape.

The big picture, Spirito said, is that mainstream media hasn’t given young consumers the proper attention. “I think overtime proves that this is a generation that has a voice,” he said. “This is a generation that has a share of the wallet and a generation that wants to be included.”