Formula 1 has announced a sponsorship and data rights deal with Interregional Sports Group (ISG), a sports marketing company.
The deal will result in live track data to allow for in-play betting during races.
The five-year deal worth $100million was made by Liberty Media following Bernie Ecclestone having resisted any kind of relationship with the betting world for 40 years.
Ecclestone had said that he was hesitant about what a partnership with gambling companies would do for the brand’s image.
“I looked into gambling three of four years ago,” he said in 2016. “But in the end the gambling concept was not found suitable.”
Liberty Media, who purchased F1 from Bernie Ecclestone in 2016, had made it clear the sport had not maximised its commercial potential under Ecclestone.
Managing director of F1’s commercial operations Sean Bratches told the Financial Times that this deal with ISG has been agreed to increase revenues to the teams and, therefore, should enhance the spectacle for the viewer.
Bratches has said that: “F1 is delighted to partner with ISG, which has demonstrated its impressive global capabilities through working with the likes of Serie A and La Liga.
“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 1 the world’s leading sports entertainment experience.
“This deal allows us to develop new and exciting ways for Formula 1 fans around the globe to engage with the world’s greatest racing spectacle, while ensuring integrity with best practice oversight from Sportradar.”
Sportradar have come on board to help ISG and gambling companies use data to create markets and spot any suspicious betting patterns.
This deal has caused controversy throughout the F1 community due to certain moral issues surrounding gambling.
You can see some of the reaction from F1 fans below.
Historically, F1 has had strong ties to tobacco companies as its sponsors.
However, due to changing attitudes and regulations towards advertising, these companies were gradually phased out of the sport at the turn of the century.