How Overtime is Changing the Game
In this episode of The Brainbase Podcast, we got a chance to speak with the VP General Marketing Manager at Overtime, Tyler Rutstein.
Overtime has rocketed to incredible success over the last five years. Founded in 2016, the sports network has quickly become a favorite amongst younger sports fans, and now has more than 50 million followers across social media channels. Most excitingly, in March they announced Overtime Elite. OTE is a revolutionary new high school basketball league in which high school basketball players ages 16-18 will earn a professional salary of $100,000, plus bonuses and equity.
We spoke with Tyler about how he came to work at Overtime after successful tenures at Adidas and Reebok, some of the biggest wins he’s experienced at Overtime so far, and the excitement of being a part of Overtime Elite.
Sharing Insights About How Sports Media is Changing (2:03-4:06)
Tyler first shared with us some of his takeaways from his career so far in media, sports, and apparel. “Sports has really changed from a content consumption standpoint,” he said. “Young consumers aren’t watching full games or highlights. They’re watching clips of it.”
Tyler also pointed out that athlete empowerment and activism are now vital to success and connecting with young consumers in the sports industry. Athletes can be a force for change with their platform. Another trend is towards sustainability, another issue young people care intensely about: “When I was at Adidas, we took a huge focus on sustainability and changing the fashion landscape in terms of consumption, sourcing materials, and removing plastics from the supply chain,” he shared.
Throwing Up the “O” (11:21-12:56)
Tyler discusses how he decided to make the jump to Overtime, and how Overtime’s brand advocacy stands out from other media companies. After speaking with one of Overtime’s Co-founders, Dan Porter- whom Tyler calls “a visionary” with “a challenger mindset”- Tyler realized Overtime was something big. He also found that Overtime has established a “really special” sense of community, especially in covering high school basketball players as influencers.
I was asking all these kids, what do you think about Overtime?… They would shout out ‘Overtime!’ and throw up the ‘O’…[it showed] the brand advocacy and passion people had.
Of course, it was a good move for Tyler. As VP General Merchandise Manager, he oversees product strategy development, creative sourcing, e-commerce, collaborations and licensing. After last year’s “surge in e-commerce” for Overtime, he’s excited about the partnerships to come, especially with merchandise. “We can really ‘turn on’ different stories and amplify artists and designers, in the same way we’ve amplified young athletes and helped them build their own brands.”
On Selecting Brand Partnerships (17:11-19:19)
Overtime is a powerhouse in content and media. They’re the largest sports network on TikTok and have over 1.7 billion views on the app. Tyler’s well aware that creating a partnership brings a brand into the Overtime community. “I want to work with great people,” he says. “We bring something to the table. You bring something to the table. And everything’s off the charts in terms of what we can do creatively.”
The other requirement for collaborations? Authenticity. Tyler shares how Overtime places a high priority on authenticity, “Our consumers are sharp. [They] can sniff out things when they’re not authentic.”
Revolutionizing High School Basketball: The Overtime Elite League and Beyond (20:11-23:00)
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Overtime Elite is a new, professional high school basketball league created by Overtime. Announced in March, OTE immediately rocked the sports industry and mass media landscape. As mentioned earlier, players will get professional pay- but that’s not all Overtime Elite offers its players.
Tyler explains how the league is designed to “fully empower” young athletes, both on the court and economically. “There’s a full education arm to OTE… We want these young athletes to go into their next journey fully prepared.” The curriculum focuses on financial literacy, social justice, entrepreneurship, and more.
Tyler’s looking forward to even more opportunities for Overtime, including new verticals and merchandising partnerships, and seeing the league develop. Please reach out to our Director of Partnership Marketing, Greg Holtzman, at [email protected] if interested in partnering with Overtime in any way as well.
Want to learn more about Overtime? Check out the full episode of the podcast above, or listen on your favorite podcast platform.
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