International Sports

Formula One agrees $100 million deal to add in-race betting and gambling partners

Key Points
  • Regionalized, branded onscreen graphics and trackside signage are to be added at Grand Prix.
  • Liberty Media purchased F1 for $8 billion in 2016.
  • Previous F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone was thought to have been against gambling associations.

Formula One has announced a sponsorship and data rights deal with sports marketing company Interregional Sports Group (ISG) that it said will enable the development of live in-play betting at Grand Prix.

"As part of the deal, ISG will have the right to sub-licence betting partnership rights to select betting brands around the world, subject to regulations," F1 said in a statement Tuesday, without providing full financial details.

he cars wait to go out in the Pitlane during qualifying for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix.
Mark Thompson | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

It said that would include regionalized, branded onscreen graphics, physical and virtual trackside signage, and other forms of integration across F1's digital and social platforms.

"Data and sponsorship partnerships like this are common practice across almost all premium sports and this is the latest step in our mission to make Formula One the world's leading sports entertainment experience," Sean Bratches, F1's managing director of commercial operations, said.

Liberty Media, which purchased F1 from Bernie Ecclestone in 2016, has touted gambling partnerships as potential revenue streams since its takeover. However, Ecclestone said at the time he was hesitant about what that would do for the brand's image. "I looked into gambling three or four years ago," he said in 2016. "But in the end the gambling concept was not found suitable."

The new partnership also involves integrity service Sportradar, which has come on board to help ISG and gambling companies use data to create markets and spot any suspicious betting patterns.

Putting the excitement back into Formula One
Putting the excitement back into Formula One

"Through this collaboration with Formula One, we're delighted that fans will receive an exciting and safe betting experience and we look forward to further developing the F1 fan experience," Sportradar's David Lampitt said.

Historically, F1 has had strong ties to tobacco companies as its sponsors. However, changing attitudes and regulations towards advertising meant that was gradually phased out at the turn of the century, with the sport now counting brands including Rolex, Heineken and Emirates as its principal partners.

The current F1 calendar consists of 21 races between March and November, some of which have laws against the advertising and promotion of gambling.

Liberty has proposed further changes including a revamp of the existing race structure and potential salary caps for teams.