Budding digital sports network Overtime today launches Hype School on Snapchat, a weekly highlights show with a funny, fast-paced style that’s tailored to the sensibilities of the platform’s millennial users.
Unlike traditional cable sports shows, whose pundits obsess over professional and college games, players and stats, Hype School casts its gaze on high school athletes. The show is infused with the sensibilities of the internet generation — focusing on epic fails as well as spectacular dunks. It’s hosted by a comedian, Kyle Pennant.
Think of it as ESPN SportsCenter’s younger, hipper cousin.
“We realized there was a huge opportunity in covering younger athletes,” said Overtime CEO Dan Porter, the former head of digital strategy for William Morris Endeavor.
New episodes appear every Friday morning at 6 AM Eastern.
Overtime is attempting to capture an elusive audience that’s not tuning in to watch professional sports on TV. Viewers between the ages of 18 and 24 were the least interested in sport as a genre, according to a survey by research firm Ampere Analysis.
Researchers speculate that viewers have been lured away by other forms of entertainment, from social media to interactive games to eSports. Overtime is betting that the stodgy tone of traditional sports network coverage may have something to do with it.
“The audience wasn’t being served — or being served the same type of stuff that I was as a kid, back in the Stone Age,” Porter said.
Overtime has adopted a more conversational approach that speaks to fans using the same voice they hear from their friends. (There’s a fascination with a floating basketball move called a “jelly,” which was popularized by New York City high schoolers Isaiah Washington, that may leave older fans querying Google.)
Instead of broadcasting to millions of sports fans through a single outlet, Overtime distributes programming via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat.
Prominent investors have been won over by this vision (and the obvious appeal of launching a sports network that’s free of burdensome sports rights fees). Overtime raised $9.5 million from a group of backers that include Andreessen Horowitz and Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant. Former NBA commissioner David Stern also is an investor.
The audience is coming too. Overtime says its videos have been viewed nearly 1 billion times over the last year.
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