Amazon Prime Video has signed a three-year streaming deal with Overtime Elite (OTE), a professional basketball league and development program for 16- to 20-year-olds. As part of the deal, Amazon will stream 20 OTE games live each season.
OTE’s first global media rights partnership also includes a season-long unscripted series set to debut next year. Overtime will continue to produce its contests’ broadcasts, including a number that will remain free on YouTube until further notice. Alongside the partnership, Amazon has invested in Overtime as part of the startup’s Series D funding round. Financial details of the agreement were not made public.
Amazon has stepped up its sports streaming offerings since landing the rights to Thursday night football. This week it announced a slate of daily sports talk shows. The company has also been linked to a potential package of NBA games when the league’s rights become available in 2025. Prime Video already streams NBA games in Brazil plus WNBA action stateside.
“Like Overtime, we have a mutual commitment to serving the next generation of sports fans,” Amazon’s VP of global sports video Marie Donoghue said in a statement.
Overtime aired its first year of games on YouTube, hoping to prove its ability to draw an audience before they hit the market. The league owns all six teams and the arena in Atlanta where they play their games. This control allows Overtime to push broadcast limits, such as putting cameras in the dressing room at halftime. The stream of the matchup between potential NBA lottery picks in Amen and Ausar Thompson against Bronny James’ California Basketball Club last month has more than 300,000 views.
When Overtime began its search for a media partner earlier this year, it saw Amazon as a natural fit, thanks in large part to Prime Video’s reach (it’s reportedly in 45% of US households) and interest in experimentation. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is also an overtime investor through Bezos Expeditions. “We put them number one on our dream board,” Overtime CEO Dan Porter said in an interview.
Sponsorship deals have largely driven OTE’s business to this point, but Porter said if media reached 50% of the league’s revenue, “that would be huge.” OTE has also committed to exploring merchandise and video game deals for its players, which are guaranteed minimum salaries of $100,000 per year, although they can choose not to receive a salary to maintain NCAA eligibility.
The first game, featuring the Thompson twins, airs Friday at 7:00 PM ET.
With reporting from Eben Novy-Williams.