F1 signs deal to open up betting markets

LONDON • Formula One announced a sponsorship and data rights deal with Interregional Sports Group (ISG) on Tuesday that it said would enable the development of live in-play betting.

The Financial Times newspaper reported earlier that the deal to sell betting sponsorships was worth at least US$100 million (S$137 million) over five years.

"ISG will have the right to sub-license betting partnership rights to select betting brands around the world, subject to regulations," F1 said in a statement, without providing financial details.

It said that would include regionalised branded on-screen graphics, physical and virtual trackside signage, and integration across F1's digital and social platforms.

The Financial Times added that ISG would pay an upfront fee to Liberty Media, F1's commercial rights holder, and recoup that money through separate deals with gambling sponsors.

The partnership also involves Sportradar Integrity Services, which will help ISG and gambling companies analyse the data to create markets and spot any suspicious betting patterns.

According to the SportBusiness website, the deal represents a reverse by F1 on a near 40-year ban on gambling partnerships.

Sean Bratches, F1's managing director for commercial matters, believes the deal would make the most of data generated at races worldwide.

"Data and sponsorship partnerships like this are common practice across almost all premium sports," he said. "It allows us to develop new and exciting ways for fans to engage with the world's greatest racing spectacle, while ensuring integrity with best practice oversight from Sportradar."

However, it remains to be seen if gambling can be enabled across the board as some of the countries that host F1 grands prix have local laws that ban or restrict gambling advertising during live events.

F1 next heads to the Russian Grand Prix on Sept 30, with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton leading the drivers' standings by 40 points from Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who is on 241.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2018, with the headline 'F1 signs deal to open up betting markets'. Print Edition | Subscribe