DeKalb, IL — High school basketball players could have a new pathway to the NBA by joining a new league and earning $100,000 per year.
Sports media company Overtime announced the creation of the Overtime Elite league Thursday.
Scheduled to launch in September, the league will feature 30 top-ranked players ages 16 to 18. The elite league would allow players to forfeit their remaining high school and college careers to earn six figures.
The league would be based in a single location, which has not yet been announced.
Overtime CEO Dan Porter said it would pay for health insurance and allow players to earn bonuses and equity in the company. If players decide not to go into the NBA, the money will be used for college tuition.
“It’s a pretty interesting opportunity,” Porter said of starting Overtime Elite, according to CNBC.
Overtime distributes sports content revolving around high school players on social media outlets and sells apparel with its logos and branding. The company has built a massive Generation Z following with 40 million followers across its social media channels.
The company’s revenue comes from two sources: video advertisements and e-commerce. Porter said the company makes “millions of dollars” from apparel.
Porter spent two years speaking with families of top athletes to seek input about the new league. He said the families expressed disapproval of the current path to the pros, where prominent colleges make millions off talent in exchange for a free education.
The NBA prohibits players under 19 from entering the league under its collective bargaining agreement. Some players attend at least one year of college while they await eligibility – also referred to as “one and done.”
Overtime Elite has received positive feedback, and it’s built with NBA names that can help the league operate, he said.
“It’s a professional path,” Porter said, according to CNBC. “But unlike a pure farm system, this is competition. We expect tens of millions of people will want to tune in and watch. And why do we expect that? Because they are already watching on our platforms today.”