Formula 1 ends 40 years of betting sponsorship hiatus with $100 million ISG deal

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Formula 1 owners Liberty Media have signed a five-year $100 million deal with Interregional Sports Group (ISG), a London-based sports media and marketing agency, for its motorsport series’ global rights to gambling sponsorships.

The move will effectively end a 40-year-old blanket ban on sponsorship deals with gambling and betting companies implemented by former owner Bernie Ecclestone who believed that allowing such companies on race tracks would have an adverse effect on its image as a pinnacle of motorsports.

According to the Financial Times, the deal will see ISG pay Formula 1 $100 million over five years, with the cash to be paid up front, for the exclusive global right to strike a series of separate deals with betting companies in different markets around the world.

Now, gambling and betting operators will be given the opportunity to have their brands promoted on trackside electronic billboards, on-screen graphics during TV broadcasts and through integration across the series’ digital and social platforms.

In addition, the first-of-its-kind partnership for Formula 1 will see ISG and Swiss sports data company Sportradar work with data collected during race weekends to develop new in-play betting markets during Grands Prix. The series will also benefit from Sportradar’s integrity services to protect it against betting-related match-fixing and corruption.

Formula 1, in its official release, has added that full details of its partnership with ISG and Sportradar will be formally announced at the Betting on Sports 2018 conference in London on Wednesday.

Sean Bratches, Formula One’s managing director of commercial operations, “Formula One is delighted to partner with ISG, which has demonstrated its impressive global capabilities through working with the likes of Serie A and La Liga. We are also hugely excited to work with ISG and Sportradar on making the most of the data which is generated at every Grand Prix.”

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“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. This deal allows us to develop new and exciting ways for Formula One fans around the globe to engage with the world’s greatest racing spectacle, while ensuring integrity with best practice oversight from Sportradar.”

Formula 1 relaxing its stance on betting follows US Supreme Court ruling in May this year lifting ban on sports betting and gambling in the country, move which can provide a significant to boost revenues of sports teams/clubs and professional sports league organisers.

Since then, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has penned a US$25 million deal with MGM Resorts International, while the National Football League (NFL) has agreed to permit franchisees to sign sponsorships with casinos.

Also Read: NFL set to make $2.3 billion from legalised betting