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Penn State Grads Create ‘Overtime’ App To Drive Sports Conversation

Scroll through Twitter during any sporting event and you’re bound to see a bounty of GIFs, Vines, and other bite-sized videos that grab your attention. These brief highlights, bloopers, and potpourri of viewable material have almost become a social media within social media.

Now, a team of seven, including two Penn State graduates, are working to bring this concept — combined with other features — to a new sports media platform. Think Twitter mixed with the ESPN app and you get Overtime (“Overtime– The Game Never Ends” in the App Store), a new social sports app that allows “thousands of fans t0 share and debate about their favorite teams, sports and players, from high school sports to niche sports to professional sports,” according to a press release.

Marketed as the first sports platform both targeted to and maintained by millennials, much of the inspiration and testing that created Overtime came from experiences at Penn State, said Zack Weiner, a recent UPenn grad who leads the content and business efforts.

“Our wheelhouse is college students, particularly ones that are avid sports fans, and we know Penn State students are certainly that,” he said.

Senior mobile engineer Dave Segal and creative director Ben Weisman both attended Penn State. Weisman graduated in 2004 with majors in graphic design and marketing; Segal is a 1993 College of Communications graduate and comes from a family of five Penn Staters. Several beta testers that have worked to create content in the early stages of the app also study in State College. This culmination of Stately allegiances resulted in a verified feed for Penn State, one of the first in the app’s existence.

Weiner met Dan Porter, a developer who had worked on ambitious projects including OMGPOP, and pitched the Overtime idea. Soon after, he left behind a lucrative signing bonus in finance to develop the app over a summer.

“There was no better way to make a sports app for my generation than to spend thousands of hours user testing, texting, and talking to sports fans my age about what they wanted to see,” he said. “What you see in Overtime is a total reflection of that.”

There are several features that Weiner believes separates Overtime from the pack of competitors, which has allowed the app to accrue hundreds of beta users, several investors, and is now in talks with athletes to sign on board.

First, according to its press kit, a highlight tool allows users to create slow motion replays of notable plays. That, coupled with a deep GIF library, creates a new language of conversation for its users. Overtime is also centered on following feeds rather than individuals, and a feed can be based on anything from #PennState to #dunk.

“Anyone can use our video tools to create slow-motion highlights and our content creation tools to provide analysis and news,” Weiner said. “This ranges from stories on LeBron James to the Penn State wrestling team.”

In all, it’s a confluence of the GIF-ability of the social media world with the fandom of the sports world. It’s less immediate than Twitter, but works to concentrate the conversation in a way other platforms cannot.

“Literally all you have to do is type in #PennState and boom, you have all the best content, sorted by our algorithm and users’ votes, in one place, all the time,” he said.

Check it out in video form below:

Image: Zack Weiner/Overtime

About the Author

Ben Berkman

State College, PA


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