New hoops league for prep standouts signs deal with Gatorade

ATLANTA (AP) — A startup basketball league with goals of giving high school players another option besides the college route has added Gatorade as its first brand sponsor.

Overtime Elite (OTE) announced the multiyear deal to The Associated Press on Monday. The terms were not released.

OTE is scheduled to tip off its inaugural season in Atlanta on Oct. 29 with a full slate of games scheduled to showcase the talents of 27 players split into three teams. The new pro league markets itself to high schoolers and guarantees an academic education along with a six-figure salary.

“We are doing something big and bold — building a league with an unprecedented holistic approach on an accelerated timeline — and Gatorade aligned with us on our mission,” said Aaron Ryan, the commissioner and president of OTE. “To have Gatorade on board with us at ground level allows us to educate and prepare our young athletes from the beginning of their path to become pros.”

Games will be played at OTE’s 103,000-square-foot complex in Atlanta, which was just recently completed. Gatorade will have a big presence at the complex.

“Overtime Elite represents a unique connectivity with our audience, which allows us to engage directly with athletes during and beyond the moment of sweat,” said Jeff Kearney, global head of sports marketing at Gatorade.

OTE was launched through the sports media company Overtime. The league has big plans to break into the competitive hoops market by recruiting 16- to 18-year-old standouts. Players will receive a minimum salary of at least $100,000 per year, along with signing bonuses and shares in the company.

The league also offers health and disability insurance, in addition to college tuition — should players want to go to school (not to play, though, since their college eligibility would be forfeited).

Among the players to sign with the league is Jean Montero, a guard from the Dominican Republic who could be a top-15 pick in next year’s NBA draft.

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