Amazon adds Overtime Elite to Prime Video in live sports push
Prime Video has signed a deal with Overtime Elite (OTE) for the exclusive global streaming rights to 20 live games per season for the next three years.
The big picture: OTE is a six-team basketball league featuring some of the best players in the world ages 16 to 20. Players receive six-figure salaries and an education as they prepare for college and professional hoops.
- The first broadcast will be this Friday, with a game featuring OTE's two most intriguing prospects: Twins Amen and Ausar Thompson, both projected lottery picks in the 2023 NBA draft.
- The 20 OTE games will air live on Prime Video on Friday and Saturday nights, broadcast from OTE Arena in Atlanta. Prime will also stream a season-long unscripted series set to debut in mid-2023.
- OTE, which produced its own broadcasts during its inaugural 2021-22 season, will continue to do so in partnership with Prime.
Plus: Amazon also made an investment in Overtime — the company that owns and operates OTE, along with numerous other sports and media assets — as part of its Series D funding round.
Why it matters: This is Prime Video's latest move into live sports. In addition to "Thursday Night Football," it also has rights deals with the WNBA, Yankees and others. And the Pac-12 could be coming soon.
What they're saying: "I think we're both really interested in reimagining what the broadcast can do," Overtime CEO Dan Porter tells Axios. "For me, they were a dream partner, and the dream came true."
- OTE streamed games on YouTube last year, which required the company to build out broadcast infrastructure (think: wire cams, control room). That helped when talking to streamers, says Porter.
- "When it came time to do a deal like this, we had full broadcast capability — we were plug-and-play for anybody. ... In the words of every pro athlete, 'We bet on ourselves.' And the bet paid off."
The backdrop: Overtime began in 2016 as a digital media company centered around high school sports and quickly gained a massive following through viral videos and a brand that spoke to Gen Z.
- "When we started, we made a bet that people cared about discovery — that they wanted to know who was 'next,'" says Porter.
- "We built a whole business around telling you that Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball ... all these people are 'next.' And now we've built a whole league around it."