NASCAR Partners with Genius Sports
NASCAR Data Deal

NASCAR Data Deal Signals New Outlook On Sports Betting

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NASCAR has entered into a new sports data partnership that proponents say will expand betting on the sports by offering new play-by-play betting options. The deal is NASCAR's first big move into the new world of expanded sports betting in the United States, partnering NASCAR with Genius Sports, who has exclusive licensing rights to sell NASCAR live data to sportsbooks for betting purposes.

An official NASCAR gambling offering will be produced by Genius Sports, and offered as a package to legal sportsbooks. The offering will use an exclusive NASCAR data feed to generate up to the minute odds, as well as to create opportunities for prop betting that are not possible without live on-track data.

"NASCAR is one of those sports that I think has an enormous opportunity to present an exciting betting product, particularly in-game," said Genius spokesman Chris Dougan.

The goal is to create a fan engagement experience that allows the bettor to witness odds on their favorite driver fluctuate throughout the race due to particular conditions and events happening on the track.

"We feel that NASCAR has a little more of an upside in the in-race event experience than some of the other stick-and-ball sports," said Brian Herbst, Senior Vice President of Broadcasting and Innovation for NASCAR. "The in-game experience that we're building through Genius will have live odds around NASCAR."

NASCAR hopes that increasing fan engagement with new betting opportunities will lead to more fans watching a race in it's entirety. Fox Sports has averaged over 5 million viewers for NASCAR events this season, but the Association wants to see a larger percentage of those viewers watching and participating for an increased length of time.

Before the start of the current season, an integrity program and gambling policy was issued by NASCAR, in which the sanctioning body gave tracks and racing teams authorization to accept sponsorships from betting companies. When combined with the new deal struck with Genius Sports, it is apparent that NASCAR views the sports betting industry as a long term unofficial partner to help drive growth for both industries. Herbst estimates it will take six to eight months for final development of the product and technology, but expects in-race betting and live odds to be available by the 2020 racing season.

"What could happen in the next five seconds? What could happen in the next lap? It opens the door to a massively exciting new market," Dougan said. "NASCAR is now starting to recognize this is a huge fan engagement tool. We give them that distribution and that reach."

Racing teams and drivers will be prohibited from placing bets on racing events, and will also be restricted from disclosing any form of confidential information pertaining to racing events. There is an exception that allows for the participation in fantasy sports, as long as no prize is claimed with a value of over $250. These restrictions are comparable to those used by other major sports leagues.

NASCAR has historically not received a lot of attention from the U.S. Betting market, which is dominated by football and basketball. Since the state of Delaware implemented sports betting in June 2018, less than one tenth of one percent of wagers were placed on auto racing, accounting for $208,100 out of $154.8 million. The Association is hoping that the data deal will spark a new interest in racing and in betting on racing, allowing NASCAR to carve out a small sliver from a betting market worth billions of dollars annually.

"I don't think we've done a really good job of taking the tools that our in our tool kit and leveraging those," Herbst said. "We weren't really in the gaming conversation until this year. We're still taking a kind of pragmatic, staggered approach into it."

The state of Nevada held a monopoly of sports betting for decades, greatly restricting sports betting opportunities across the country. That ended last year when the Supreme Court ruled that each state can make their own decision about offering sports betting and how to implement it. Rhode Island, Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New Mexico began taking bets almost immediately, with additional states fighting for a piece of the pie. This is a good time for any business to get involved in sports betting, and live data is the greatest tool that sports leagues have to capitalize on th exponential growth of the market.

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