Formula 1 Announces a Pioneering Move: A Live In-Play Betting



Staff member
May 3, 2008
If you have been dreaming about betting on Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel while they’re racing, then your dream has finally come true. The owners of Formula 1 have struck a deal for adding in-race betting with Interregional Sports Group (ISG), a marketing agency based in London. Reportedly, the deal is worth over $100m.

With the aim to introduce new ways of engaging with the sport, Liberty Media, the brand's owner, announced a data rights and sponsorship deal with ISG. This will be the first-ever strategic partnership, a ground-breaking partnership, if we may, allowing all Formula 1 fans to bet live on the race. The deal will grant betting brands rights to include in-play betting, of course, in regulated markets.

How Will It Work?

With Sportradar monitoring potential fraud, millions of people from all around the world will be finally able to place bets on the prestigious Grand Prix. The betting brands will be able to introduce bettors with branded on-screen graphics, digital integration with the Formula 1 platforms and a trackside signage. This means that the data will be taken from the track directly, something that is already popular with many other sports, like football, for instance.

The access rights for all of these would be issued by ISG, but not directly. In fact, ISG will give a sub-license to Betting Partnership Rights, which will be responsible to select the betting brands that can include this type of in-play betting, subject to regulations. Sportsradar, a Switzerland-based data analyzing and sports betting firm, on the other hand, will provide assistance in relation to integrity policies and safety, preventing match-fixing and corruption.

Why Now?

This is a historic betting sponsorship by Formula 1 in 40 years. The previous Formula 1 owner, Bernie Ecclestone, denied associating the brand with any type of gambling activities with the mission of preserving its grandiose image. And even though many, if not all other sports, were signing sponsorship deals with gambling and sports betting companies which were multi-million worth and have increased in value over the last 40 years, Ecclestone stood by his principles for all these years.

Having in mind that these types of sponsorships earned the most successful teams a fortune, Liberty Media, who acquired Formula 1 for $8bn in 2017, saw the opportunity and made Formula 1 fans wish come true. But the fans are not the only ones who will benefit from this sponsorship. In fact, this deal with Sportsradar and ISG will allow advertisements to be displayed track-side on billboards. The top gambling brands’ ads will be flashed on-screen on the track while you watch the race.

Will The Betting Be Allowed Everywhere?

There are some limitations to the betting, though. Formula 1 takes place in 21 different countries worldwide, in some of which gambling is prohibited or gambling ads during live streams are prohibited. This means that there will be further negotiations and additions to the contract and the public is yet to be informed. Most likely, the betting will be regionalized. It is interesting enough that the time of introducing this betting idea coincides with the time the U.S. Supreme Court removed the federal ban on the sports betting. This means that US sports spectators will, at last, be able to wager on their favorite teams.

Why Involve ISG and Sportsradar?

ISG has done an impressive job working with La Liga and Serie A, for instance. They have taken the sport to a global level and have managed to draw the audience's attention to the teams. This is the expertise Formula 1 needs, according to Sean Bratches, the Formula 1’s managing director. He says ISG shares their passion of making Formula 1 one of the world’s leading sports entertainment source. Their success in many other sports proves that ISG has already achieved that for them, providing them with global audiences through virtual advertising. Having in mind that Formula 1 already has a worldwide audience, this partnership will definitely enhance Formula 1’s popularity and people’s interest in the sport.

In order to further engage the world with the greatest racing event, Bratches says the best practice oversight is necessary to ensure integrity. This could only be done with the aid of Sportsradar, who is the leader in sports data distribution globally and has already worked with UEFA, FIFA, NBA and more. Sportsradar distributes integrity services against any type of fraudulent activities and corruption in sports. Sportsradar, a worldwide recognized name is integral in providing bettors with a guarantee that all the wagers are perfectly safe.

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