SNY and Overtime Capture the Best Moments in High School Basketball

A successful summer project promises expansion into other sports

The relationship between SNY and Overtime started as a summer fling, but don’t be surprised if it lasts a whole lot longer.

New York sports fans know SNY as the home of the Mets and Jets, as well as a variety of other local sports. Basketball fans know Overtime as a scrappy youth-focused site that uses online video to capture the enthusiasm of high school games. In January, reps from both companies met in the SNY offices to share ideas. Talk turned to the SNY Invitational, a high school basketball tournament SNY has hosted for eight years, and that led to a collaboration.

SNY President Steve Raab

“These guys are high school basketball fans, so, of course, they knew [the SNY Invitational],” remembers SNY President Steve Raab. “They were like, ‘Of course, we know the tournament, and we’re coming. Hey, as long as we’re talking about it, why don’t we set up an SNY Invitational channel on Overtime and see how it does?’ We sort of said, ‘Sure.’”

How that channel did was beyond both sides’ expectations. Videos from the tournament’s two Friday-night and two Saturday games generated roughly a million views. That got Raab and his team wondering whether there was a way to combine the two company’s strengths into something more. They wanted to pair SNY’s linear-TV knowledge and sales-force expertise in local sponsorships with Overtime’s ability to generate crowd-sourced high school basketball highlights.

To test the idea, SNY and Overtime have come up with a summer project. They’re going to follow high-profile players from New York-area high schools as they play in iconic venues during the summer leagues. On Wednesday, both sites posted the first videos from the project on their Facebook and Instagram accounts. After one day, the results were strong: the Facebook video generated about 25,000 views, the Instagram video about 15,000.

An SNY+Overtime website and channel should launch this week. SNY has given the collaboration a push by talking it up on Geico SportsNite, its nightly cable sports program.

SNY+Overtime will bring a flair to youth summer sports in New York City.

Overtime’s videographers are staking out NYC parks and playgrounds where summer basketball takes place — about four locations to begin with, growing to about 10, Raab says. They turn that action into multiple daily clips. Footage is shot with either DSLRs or the Overtime app, which includes custom effects and a video editor. Edited clips post to social-media accounts, and raw footage is sent to SNY via Dropbox to be edited and produced for broadcast. Friday editions of SportsNite will show clips and promote the collaboration.

No money is changing hands for this project. Instead, the two companies will share revenue brought in by the SNY sales team. Raab expects to announce sponsors within the next week or two.

For him, this isn’t just a summer project but potentially a whole new direction for his company. So far, SNY’s only involvement with high school sports is the tournament it hosts. That could change.

“We know there’s a high school market out there. If you look at all the kids who are playing high school sports and the parents who care, the relatives and people in towns who care, we know there’s a market,” Raab says. “It just is so [fragmented] that the question isn’t, do people in our territory enjoy high school sports. The question has always been — and this has been the question, not just for us but high school sports in general — how do you cover it in a meaningful, comprehensive way but be able to do it efficiently?”

A big part of getting the high school market right is creating an effective social-media strategy. That means broadening SNY’s reach, but doing so in a way that brings viewers back to SNY.tv or its linear-TV network. If it can nail that, Raab is already thinking of expanding to other high school sports. Quick highlight videos are the way to go, he says, noting that 95% of the people this project reaches are under 25 and they like highlight videos of top players doing exciting things.

Raab is already thinking several moves ahead.

“If we feel that we can deliver value this summer and that can continue as we roll into the 2017-18 high school basketball season,” he explains, “maybe that rolls into the spring lacrosse season, and maybe that, then, rolls into the following year’s football season. If SNY can become the go-to destination for New York-area high school sports, then the credibility we have allows us to really think about other ways to involve ourselves in the high school market in this territory.”

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