“We think our system is going to be amazing for their basketball development,” Weiner said. “Will each individual player create an NBA? Maybe not every one of them, but the vast majority will become professionals. ”
But the risk is almost as much as the benefits to young athletes. Most start-up professional sports leagues, however innovative, are failing. The overtime Elite will require tens of millions of dollars to operate on the scale predicted by its founders, but if it fails, its athletes could be left without anywhere.
“We are sincerely investing in hiring really serious and legitimate people who will lead every aspect of the company,” Porter said. “I don’t want to mess with children’s lives. I don’t want people to mess with my kids ’lives. In addition, there is a moral obligation. “
Weiner said the company is “extremely well capitalized” to launch the league. Overtime, Porter added, collected a “significant” amount of cash in a previously undiscovered funding round last fall and planned to use it to pay players, hire employees and rent apartments, offices, gyms and education space.
Some details about what the league will actually look like or how fans can watch it are still unresolved. There will be no permanent teams, but instead dynamic rosters within the league, and Porter and Weiner envision some sort of tour of Europe after the storm. The games will no doubt be available to watch online, but overtime promises that the games themselves and the content around them will look too similar to typical basketball television shows.
The Overtime Elite is not the only basketball league to spy on the opportunity in the changing rules around amateurism and the desire of players to get paid right away. David West, a former NBA player, launched Professional Collegiate League, and the NBA Development League recently began courting the best 18-year-olds who want to completely skip college on their way to the NBA League
But Overtime Elite is the first serious league focused on paying high schoolers, LaVar Ball’s failed junior basketball federation regardless.