Formula 1 In-Play Betting Service with Sportradar Promises New Data Access That May Transform Betting on Races

Posted on: August 7, 2019, 06:35h. 

Last updated on: August 7, 2019, 12:39h.

Formula 1 betting may be about to go into overdrive. Through its partnership deal with Sportradar, the racing car series will launch a live data feed for in-play betting, which promises to transform the way gamblers engage with the sport.

Formula 1 betting
Formula 1 cars, such the Mercedes W10 (pictured), represent the pinnacle of vehicular technology and contain around 120 sensors that transmit data on every aspect of performance back to the crews. (The Sunday Times)

The new service will be up and running in time for the start of the 2020 season.

According to Sportradar’s Managing Director of Sports Partnerships, David Lampitt, the agreement will unleash an untapped market for bookmakers on “one of the richest data-driven sports in the world.”

Formula 1 cars are elite racing machines that reach speeds up to 220 mph on some circuits. But they are also intelligent and connected data systems. Each car is fitted with around 120 sensors, monitoring almost every aspect of its performance, from tire and brake temperatures, air flow and engine performance, to driver responsiveness, relaying valuable information in real-time back to crews.

Data Revolution

Unprecedented access to some of this information, which has never before been available to outsiders, will allow bookmakers to offer around 30 new markets during qualifying and on race day. Additional markets on aspects such as in-team competition and driver head-to-heads will develop in real time on a race-by-race basis.

Sportradar said this week it had also been granted access to never-before-released historical Formula 1 data, which will allow it to shape new live odds models for the sport.

Sportradar has a similar agreement in place with NASCAR, and over the past 12 months has been busy striking further deals in the US as it seeks to capitalize on the newly liberalized sports betting markets.

The Swiss company has a data partnership with MLB, as well as with several US operators, including the joint sports betting venture between MGM Resorts and GVC.

Driving Growth

For Formula 1, it represents a radical new path under the stewardship of new owner Liberty Media. The US mass media company acquired the sport in 2016 for $8 billion and is eager to find new ways to monetize its global appeal.

Previously, Formula 1 had been run for four decades by the British business tycoon Bernie Ecclestone as his own personal fiefdom. While it has always embodied the pinnacle of vehicular engineering, in other respects it was idiosyncratic and set in its ways.

Ecclestone shunned sports betting advertising because he believed it would tarnish Formula 1’s glamorous image, but Liberty has no such qualms. It believes the auto-racing series missed out on hundreds of millions of dollars in sponsorship opportunities under Ecclestone and has made a priority of engaging with new sectors. It also believes the creation of new gambling opportunities within the sport will enhance fan engagement.

Last year, Liberty sold the global gambling rights to the sport to London-based marketing agency Interregional Sports Group (ISG) for a price rumored to be at least $100 million, making it among the biggest commercial contracts the sport has ever signed.

In addition to the deal with Sportradar, earlier this year ISG brokered Formula 1’s first branding agreement with an online sports betting site, Sportpesa’s sponsorship of the Racing Point team.