South Salem’s Tom Weingarten has made overtime a social media empire

Tom Weingarten vividly remembers the first time he faced Dobbs Ferry’s Eric Paschall in a preseason scrimmage during his senior year at John Jay-Cross River in the winter of 2011.

Weingarten didn’t know it then, but it wouldn’t be the last time he rubbed shoulders with future professional athletes and NBA players.

“Oh my God, he was the best, he was amazing,” Weingarten said of Paschall, a former NBA All-Rookie player who joined the Minnesota Timberwolves this summer.

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For most of his life, Weingarten aspired to be a college basketball coach and involved himself in every opportunity he could to gain experience. He helped coach high school basketball and football, started his own AAU basketball team, and worked with a company that placed him in a graduate assistant program after finishing at Iona College. .

While everything was going well, his mother implored him to get a summer internship.

“I just Googled ‘sports camps’ because I had no other idea what I wanted to do,” Weingarten said. “I immediately jumped to the 50th page, because I didn’t think anyone on the first 49 pages would hire me. I thought they would be all ESPN, NBC and all these different places. On the 50th page of google, I saw a job had been posted for this start-up. I had no idea what it was. In fact, it wasn’t called Overtime at the time. It was actually called Tally. A few years later we changed the name to Overtime. I applied for this internship, without thinking about it.”

Today, Weingarten is head of social media for Overtime, a business valued at more than $500 million, according to its CEO Dan Porter, and which has hundreds of employees. He gained popularity with his sports clips on social media.

At the time, Weingarten was the company’s fifth employee, responsible for Overtime’s social media posts at a time when there were no role models or competing styles to imitate with a quirky twist. .

“There was no rubric or playbook,” said Overtime co-founder Zack Weiner. “If you’re good at following a playbook and rubric, you were probably a good employee in your twenties because you’re usually in a job that someone has done before and you have a manager who has done it. That wasn’t the situation he found himself in, and that’s not the situation that overtime found himself in. I’d say Tom embraced it. Everyone in the company really had to come up with something new thing, which is really one of the hardest things to do, but the reason Tom is so successful is that he’s very open to feedback.”

With the help of Weingarten and his social media strategy, overtime is no longer buried in the back pages of Google. He is now at the forefront.

Overtime has amassed over 65 million followers on various social media platforms.

“There was a lack of information and, quite frankly, a lack of experience on my part, which was actually my greatest strength,” Weingarten said. “I was given a job and that was to figure out what a young sports fan would want to see on a social media page. In fact, I deliberately didn’t look at other accounts to see what they were doing. At first I just posted what I would like to see I was a 20, 21 year old sports fan.

“Honestly, I was always a sports fan in high school and was more obsessed with what happened off the court and off the court than on the court and on the court.”

Tom Weingarten (left) poses with Zion Williamson (right), the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and eventual NBA All-Star.

Weingarten has remained with the company since his internship in 2015, and he was hired full-time after graduating from college in 2016.

He found an untapped market covering high school and street basketball games, posting highlights, and then eventually focusing on athletes with major social media platforms.

There have been plenty of standout moments and treasured memories along the way, but it was him and Overtime’s coverage of Zion Williamson and LaMelo Ball as budding high school viral sensations that helped elevate the brand even further. .

He initially tried to juggle coaching and his social media duties at Overtime, but after a conversation with his former high school football coach, Jimmy Clark, he decided to throw himself into his newfound life. love.

“(Clark) was basically like, ‘Do the other thing. You can always coach on the road if you really want to,'” Weingarten said. “I kept asking to work more and more. I realized early on that the team there was (COO) Ali Nicolas, Dan Porter, the CEO, and Zack (Weiner) who is the co -founder, and I was like, ‘Wow, those are the three smartest people I’ve ever met. I needed to keep working with them and figure out how to engage with them.’

Tom Weingarten, a 2012 John Jay-Cross River graduate, joined Overtime as an intern in 2015 when it was still a fledgling startup.  Today, Overtime is one of the largest sports media platforms and is worth an estimated $500 million.

Weingarten remains proud of his Westchester roots and continues to follow John Jay’s sports teams and watch movies in his spare time.

He also became an on-air talent for Overtime, with over 200,000 followers on TikTok and another 20,000 on Instagram.

Although Overtime began as a social media platform for sports highlights, it has since expanded into other businesses, such as Overtime Elite, which recruits and trains school-aged basketball players and develops them in their own league.

Overtime pays them salaries starting at around $100,000 a year, provides them with an academic education, and gives them a share of merchandise and licensing revenue. If the players don’t get a professional contract, Overtime gives them $100,000 to attend the college of their choice.

It also launched OT7, a new seven-on-seven football league. With a recently successful fundraising of $100 million, Overtime plans to further develop these leagues and expand some of its other businesses.

“It’s great, of course, that such great people believe in us,” Weingarten said. “We’ve done a really great job in the first five or so years of the business, and now we have to keep taking the next step, keep improving and making sure we’re going as big as we can. -be get.”

He has some tips for young athletes and teenagers.

“When it comes to athletes, don’t be so bogged down with what your career will be like,” Weingarten said. “The most important thing is to find people you really like and respect and learn something from and then get in. I don’t think athletes necessarily know all the opportunities that are available to them, so grab them all. the opportunities you can.

“The most important thing for me is to work with people that you really like. Especially with me, being in a startup, you’re going to work a ton of hours. Especially when you’re young, you’re going to get away with it. You you’re going to have to do all of these things, so doing it with all these people that you really love and respect and learn from. It’s like a sports team. You can work out is the most important thing. … The last thing I would say is have fun with everything. Nothing is so serious, and I think you want to enjoy every second of it.

Follow Eugène Rapay on Twitter at @erapay5 and on Instagram at @byeugenerapay.

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